Scottish Women's Premier League

SBSSWPL 1: The 2018 season so far…

July 27th 2018

Scottish Building Society SWPL 1

Glasgow City

Current position: 1st
Last season’s position: 1st

With eight games left to play, Glasgow City are moving in the right direction to 12 titles in a row. However, with Hibernian possibly level on points before the 5th of August, there is still work to be done. For City, that should mean winning every single game left including a penultimate day showdown on October 21st against their title rivals.

Head Coach, Scott Booth, said, “The coaching staff are happy with the first half of the campaign. After a stop-start introduction to the season the players were able to settle into a good playing rhythm.

“The vast majority of our matches have been very competitive. We were disappointed to miss out on the League Cup but we understand that there are always areas of our play that we can do better in. Our squad has a good blend of experience and youth, and they are all happy to work hard if it means achieving results. We’ve picked up a number of injuries but everyone has stuck together and all the players have played their part to ensure we are in a good position when we return after the break.”

Ahead of the restart, there have been some changes to their squad. Christie Murray has left to join Liverpool and Maddie Hill has also departed. However, they’ve brought in Lidija Kuliš from Turbine Potsdam and Lara Ivanuša from ŽNK Olimpija Ljubljana.

“The players always look forward to the second half of the season” added Booth. “So much is decided in the last few months. The Scottish Cup is always a huge focus and of course we are excited about the up coming Champions League Group Stage which we are hosting for the first time since I joined the club. Despite being drawn in an incredibly tough group we will do everything we can to qualify.

“Lastly our main focus is to win the Scottish Building Society SWPL title for the 12th straight year. It would be an incredible achievement for everyone associated with the club.”

Hibernian

Current position: 2nd
Last season’s position: 2nd

Hibs restart their season slightly earlier as they face Hamilton on Sunday 29th July. If they win that game, they’ll be level on points with Glasgow City. If they win by a goal difference of five they’ll go top on goals scored and if they win by six or more, they’ll overtake them on goal difference.

Speaking to Lewis Michie during the season break, Hibs’ Head Coach, Grant Scott, said, “They (Glasgow City) are still in the driving seat. We aren’t overly confident but we are confident enough to believe we can push them all the way.”

Speaking about the meeting between the two sides on the 21st of October, Scott added, “Ultimately that is probably going to be a league-deciding match one way or another. If that were to be the case, what a brilliant scenario for all involved at both clubs and the league as a whole.”

Hibernian are yet to make any transfers in but have lost Scotland internationals Kirsty Smith and Lizzie Arnot to Manchester United. Scott admitted the club were prepared for this since January though and believes the break might work in their favour.

Celtic

Current position: 3rd
Last season’s position: 3rd

Celtic find themselves in familiar territory. Adrift from the top two but with a reasonable gap from those below them. It looks like history may repeat itself again with Celtic finishing third every season since the new league format was introduced.

The biggest change for Celtic so far is with regards to management. David Haley has stepped down as Manager and was replaced by Edward Gallagher who was appointed Head Coach on an interim basis. Since then, it has been announced that Motherwell Manager, Eddie Wolecki Black, will take over as Head Coach from mid-August.

On the Motherwell website, he said, “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Motherwell. I had a very difficult decision to make and I leave with a heavy heart, but this is a big opportunity.”

Rangers

Current position: 4th
Last season’s position: 6th

Rangers have had a mixed season so far but will have been delighted to jump to fourth place on the last day before the break. After suffering five defeats in May, they turned it around with impressive run in their last three games, winning them all. Those nine points saw them climb the table and away from the relegation battle.

Amy McDonald, Rangers’ Head Coach, said, “We feel as a team we have not reached our potential and let ourselves down through inconsistent performances. We have played very well in certain areas but we recognise to compete at the highest level we need to be consistent in every area. We will do everything we can to achieve this moving forward. We know we have to be relentless in our search for improvements.”

Ahead of the season restart, there has been little change in terms of their squad. The only movement so far has been Lisa Swanson moving to SBSSWPL 2 side, FC Kilmarnock, on loan.

“We will look to finish as high as possible and take each league game as it comes” said McDonald. “We know for everyone moving forward every single point counts. We will set our individual and collective aims as a group and will do everything we can to work towards them together.”

Forfar Farmington

Current position: 5th
Last season’s position: 1st in SBSSWPL 2

Forfar Farmington can be pleased with their efforts so far this season. As newcomers, they have six wins from 13 games which has put them 13 points clear of relegation with only eight games left. 2018 also included an incredible mid-season run where they won five games from six.

Head Coach, Mark Nisbet, said, “I feel the team have performed exceptionally well over the first half of the season. We had a tough start and then found ourselves with a number of away games in a row. I’m delighted to report we came through these with flying colours and found ourselves well inside the top half of the table when many would have expected us to be scrapping it out near the bottom after only being promoted this season.”

“Our aims and ambitions have changed slightly now that we have had such an impressive first half of the season and I want us to now keep pushing on and try and finish as high up the table as possible and definitely look to be in a top half position come the end of October. We have a lot of home games so, hopefully, the supporters will come out and give us the extra boost to ensure we achieve that goal.”

Stirling University

Current position: 6th
Last season’s position: 4th

Stirling have had a tricky 2018 so far, picking up 11 points from a possible 39 and will have one eye over their shoulder. However, a 2-0 win over Spartans in the last game before the break will have been a huge boost for the side. That result means that are six points from relegation with two sides below them.

Speaking to Lewis Michie, Stirling Head Coach, Barry Rodgers, said, “As a squad, we are pretty pleased with the position we are currently in. There are one or two things to improve on, but it has been a reasonable start.

“Our biggest goal is to stay in SBSSWPL, if we are a Premier League One team next year then we’ve done a job and we’ll be happy.”

Hamilton Academical

Current position: 7th
Last season’s position: 7th

After ensuring SBSSWPL survival last season, Hamilton will be hoping to achieve the same again and use the experience gained in that battle. They also return earlier than the teams around them with a match at home to Hibernian on Sunday 29th of July. That extra match fitness could be a big bonus as they take on bottom-placed Spartans the following Sunday.

Hamilton Academical Head Coach, Gary Doctor, spoke to Lewis Michie and said, “I think that last month or so there, May into June, we did well, picked up a few wins in that period. That was probably the best we’ve played this season.”

They’ve also strengthened their side ahead of the restart with the signing of Kirstie Mcintosh from Rangers.

Spartans

Current position: 8th
Last season’s position: 5th

After 13 games, Spartans find themselves bottom and in the sole relegation spot with only one win this season. However, the biggest positive for them is that they are just one point behind Hamilton and six behind Stirling University. They also face Hamilton in their first match after the restart, so could climb out of the relegation zone with a win.

When speaking to Lewis Michie, Spartans Head Coach, Debbi McCulloch said, “Based on what I’ve seen in the first half of the season, I don’t think the position we are in reflects our performances. My hope is it (the league position) will spur the team on, the break has allowed us to work on things we need to improve on and allowed players to rest.”

Speaking about their first match back, she said, “The last away game against Hamilton was disappointing so there is room for improvement there. You want to be playing in these big games, it’s good for the neutral fan, maybe not so enjoyable for us though.”