Ahead of the new 2019 season, we’ll catch-up with every single Scottish Building Society SWPL team. From new Head Coaches, new signings, and new aspirations, it’s set to be another exciting campaign. We spoke to Hibernian Head Coach, Grant Scott.
How are excited are you for the 2019 season?: As much as its great to have a break at the end of a tough season we’re now very excited to get going with the new campaign for 2019.
What are your aims and ambitions for the new season?: Naturally, as holders of both cups we will look to put up a strong defence of those. Having taken the challenge for the league title right to the wire in 2018, we will be looking to do something similar and even hope to go one better and clinch that elusive league. However, Glasgow City were formidable opponents last year and I fully aware that maintaining another challenge won’t be easy.
Our other ambition for this year is to perform well in the Champions League qualification group as well which is an added bonus this year although, once again, this will not be an easy task.
Based on the other teams in the league, do you think this will be the most competitive season ever?: It seems to be year on year that most other sides produce stronger squads and tougher challenges. Standards are improving throughout the leagues, attention to details, further resources, so every year feels more competitive than the last but it can only be good for the game overall.
With the new season around a month away, how have preparations been so far?: We’re still early on our pre-season preparations but I’m happy with the condition of the players on their return. There’s always a hunger about the players at Hibs and in the coming weeks as a staff, we’ll look to harness the players and have them ready for the kick off.
Do you have plans to/have you had much change to the squad? What impact could this have on your season?: One of the down sides of being a squad full of such great young talent means that we attract some attention for our players from sides down south & abroad. Having lost Lisa Robertson already since the end of the season, there is still a chance that we could lose more before the season starts as the attraction of full time football is very difficult for players to turn down. However, we have to be pragmatic in our approach and we look to underpin the strength of our squad by promoting youth and making key signings as required and hopefully those players coming in understand the requirements of becoming a Hibs player and grab the opportunity should places in our squad become available.
For perhaps new fans of the women’s game, who are some players in your squad they should look out for?: New signings from last season like Jamilee Napier, Lauren Davidson, Shannon McGregor will step in as major players this season. The impact of having a fully fit Joelle Murray, right from the off, can’t be underestimated. We’re delighted to have captured the signature of Leah Eddie who the club have been aware of for some time now. But the promotion from our academy of youth internationalists, Kirsty Morrison and Kirsten Laing, will add to the squad depth as it will be a long season and the full squad have their part to play in our ambitions at some point.
How important do you think it will be to get off to a good start?: As we all know, Champions Glasgow City do not drop many points in a season, so a good start for all teams is massively important and that includes ourselves. Sometimes early in the season, it is difficult to feel like the players have their rhythm but focus will be key as games in this period are difficult to win.
Given how big 2019 is for Scottish Women’s Football as a whole, how excited are you to be involved?: What a great time to involved in Scottish women’s football. Our own clubs ambitions to compete on all fronts, a World Cup, U19s finals on home soil, and our U17s very soon looking to qualify for their own finals. Clubs improving year on year all makes it very exciting times ahead.
Finally, what would you say to encourage people to come and support your team this season?: With all the unbelievable competitions to grab people’s interest, what better time to get along to some matches. Support the clubs and players in the biggest year ever for the women’s game.