Loading SWPL...

SBSSWPL 2: The 2018 season so far…

Scottish Building Society SWPL 2

Motherwell

Current position: 1st
Last season’s position: 3rd

Motherwell have one hand on the title, 13 points clear of second and third with just eight games left to play. If they defeat both FC Kilmarnock and St Johnstone in their next two games, they would be a minimum of 16 points clear with six games left.

“I believe the team have been fantastic so far and have set very high standards for the club” said Eddie Wolecki Black, Head Coach. “The aim is to win the league title as quickly as possible as this will help with the ambition of everyone to play at the highest level of women’s football in this country.”

After gaining promotion to SBSSWPL 2 last season, they pushed Forfar Farmington closest for their title before eventually falling away to finish third. This season they’ve brought in Eddie Wolecki Black and a number of signings, making them the side to beat on their march to two promotions in three years.

Perhaps the only disappointment this season for Motherwell has been the recent news that Eddie will be leaving the side to take up the role as Head Coach of Celtic Women once the SBSSWPL 2 title has been sealed or at the end of August. Donald Jennow, Assistant Head Coach, will be remaining at Motherwell though and this consistency will be a bonus for the team.

Before the end of the season, Eddie wants to maintain their impressive performances, saying, “Of course each player has their own aims and I’m sure I speak for them in saying that we would like to maintain our goalscoring record as being the top scorers in the country whilst maintaining our impressive defensive record.”

FC Kilmarnock

Current position: 2nd
Last season’s position: 1st in Scottish Women’s Football League, Division One South

Similar to Motherwell last season, FC Kilmarnock have excelled in their jump up to SBSSWPL 2. Given they lost only one game the entire league season in SWFL Division 1 South, it’s perhaps not too surprising but SBSSWPL 2 has been one of the most competitive leagues since its creation and FC Kilmarnock have adapted quickly.

Head Coach, Stewart Hall, said, “The first half of the season we’ve performed very inconsistent. We think this is due to the step up in league and the level of opposition. However, the aim for the second half of the season is to perform as consistently as possible and finish as high as possible in the league.”

They’ve bolstered their squad for the restart of the season with Lisa Swanson joining on loan from Rangers and also signing Monica Harty.

St Johnstone

Current position: 3rd
Last season’s position: 5th

St Johnstone ended the first half of the season on a high, defeating FC Kilmarnock 2-3 after being 2-0 down. On top of the fact they were unbeaten in five of their last six games, the side are on track for their highest finish in SBSSWPL 2 (finished 5th in 2016 & 2017 as Jeanfield Swifts).

Their Captain, Jade McDonald, said during her Player of the Month Award presentation for June, “We’ve shown we can step up to the challenge. Having that little bit of pressure on us, knowing we could be sitting pretty high up the table. Sitting joint second is great for us and it’s the highest we’ve ever been. I think it’s showing every year, we’re progressing. Every game, we’re progressing.”

While there hasn’t been any player movement during the summer break, Eilidh Knox has returned to training which will be a big boost to the squad as they look to continue their good form.

“If we play the way we do play against them (Motherwell), there’s no reason we can’t have a good game and see how we get on,” said McDonald. “The next half of the season it’s back to hard work. Try and get the results we’re working for and keep high up the table.”

Hearts FC

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

It has been a mixed season for Hearts, winning five, losing five, and drawing three. They were battling further up the table after the first third of the season but not winning in five games in their last six before the summer break has left them middle of the pack.

Speaking after the final game before the break, Heart of Midlothian Captain, Megan Paterson, said, “We were in a bad position last year, it was a bit touchy at times. I think this year we are stronger. We’ve had just a few results that we played well but haven’t got the points or sometimes we’ve just not shown up. We’re our own worst enemy at times”.

With only two points separating them from sixth and only three points from second, the second half of the season will certainly shape their overall season.

“The teams that have come up, FC Kilmarnock and Central Girls, I think they’ve done brilliantly. Motherwell as well (promoted last season). It’s very competitive, every game I don’t think you can pick a winner and it can either way. It’s good for the league and it’s good that we’re competitive. You know you’re in with a shot, you know you’ve got to fight and work hard.

“Hopefully we can collect three points in every game we play (in the second half of the season). We’ve got Spartans in the Scottish Cup, so a result there would be good as well. We just want to go out and play as good as we can and get results. We want three points every game, everyone does, but we want it more.”

Glasgow Girls

Current position: 5th
Last season’s position: 2nd

Glasgow Girls sit fifth in the league, just five points from second. Given at one point they were in the relegation zone, they will be happy to be nine points clear with eight games left.

Head Coach of Glasgow Girls, George Patterson, said, “We’ve had high standards since I took over three years ago, winning titles and competing in the SWPL 2 over the last two seasons. This season those standards have slipped and we have been inconsistent.”

Going into the summer break, they were four games without a win which has seen them fall to fifth in the league. However, the fact they went on a run of five wins from six games in the middle of the season is proof that they will be a tough test for all teams they face.

“In the second half of the season we look to get back to winning ways and add a consistency back to our play,” said Patterson. “I have faith in this group of players and the hard work they are putting in at training. Their hard work will pay off and take us up the division.”

Edinburgh University Hutchison Vale

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

Edinburgh University Hutchison Vale are currently one of the most inform sides in SBSSWPL 2, despite being just above the relegation zone. They were unbeaten in their last five games before the summer break and they also remain unbeaten at home (three wins and two draws). With six of their remaining nine games at home, they may well finish much higher up the table.

Head Coach, Mike Ross, said, “The first half of the season saw us drop too many points early on and draw too many games. We have only lost four games currently with two to league leaders Motherwell, a last minute goal against Hearts, and Aberdeen who took us apart up north. We turned that around in our second trip north before the summer break with a 3-1 win. That was very pleasing as we showed great character in difficult circumstances.

“Before the break, we started to see the team hit the levels we know we can play at which resulted in the team picking up three wins in a row and unbeaten in five. The players continue to improve and they have been fantastic to work with so far.

“Last season we finished very strongly and I expect us to be the same this season. We have strengthened the squad and we will also have some current and new students coming back to add further competition for places. It looks inevitable who will win the league but the fight is on for 2nd place with it being very close on points. Ideally, we finish higher than fourth, where we finished last season. We have six home games out of nine left so hopefully, we can use that to our advantage.”

Central Girls FA

Current position: 7th
Last season’s position: 1st in Scottish Women’s Football League, Division One North

Central Girls have proved to be one of the toughest teams in SBSSWPL 2 this season but find themselves seventh and level with Aberdeen on points. Of the eight defeats they’ve suffered, six have only been by two goals or less (four defeats by just one goal). At this point, they’d be desperate to have turned some of those losses into draws.

“We knew that going up to the Premier League, all teams would be hard and it would be very physical,” said defender, Shaney McCabe. “We know what we were coming for. Unfortunately, we’re losing by one or two goals or getting the draw. We’re disappointed but we keep fighting and try not to let it get us down.”

Talking about the battle for survival, McCabe added, “I think once we come out of our shell, some of the girls are a bit unsure of going into tackles because it is physical. We’re a young team, I’m the oldest at 18. Coming back from the break, hopefully, we’ll get our head screwed on and keep going upwards not downwards.

“The first half of the season has given us experience. The girls have now realised what they are up against. We’ll work hard in training, keep the fitness going, and we’ll start getting those wins.”

Aberdeen

Current position: 8th
Last season’s position: 8th in Scottish Building Society SWPL 1

Aberdeen are the side that occupies bottom of SBSSWPL 2 table before the break. After suffering relegation from SBSSWPL 1 last season, they could be the first side to suffer back-to-back relegations in the history of the reformed SBSSWPL. Aberdeen will be looking to avoid that fate in the second half of the season.

Interim Head Coach, Derek Gordon, spoke to Lewis Michie before the summer break and said, “We’ve got a good belief that with this squad we can finish in the top half. The team proved that against Motherwell, the girls played fantastically.”

With eight points gap and just eight games left, it’s going to be a tough battle for the side. However, Gordon was strong with his statement that the team “…absolutely cannot get relegated, the impact of relegation would be devastating.”

Written by
Robert Wilson
Website by We Shape