All Celtic Star eyes were on Ange Postecoglou’s Bhoys yesterday so unfortunately we missed the SWPL League Cup Group stages match against Hearts at the Penny Cars stadium, the first time that Celtic FC Women have played at this venue as the hime side. Of course the Hoops were there on 6 June when the comprehensive win over Motherwell secured the Champions league spot and that particular landmark campaign for the club kicks off tomorrow against top Spanish side Levante.
So perhaps yesterday’s relatively low scoring 2-0 win over Hearts was due to the Hoops keeping as much in the tank ahead of their flight to Norway for the club’s first ever appearance in the Champions League tomorrow? Hearts though, settling into their second season as an SWPL1 side, have improved – the first meeting between the sides last season saw Celtic secure a 10-0 away win, so the fact that they are now more competitive is good for the league.
Tegan Bowie gave Celtic the lead at the the interval when her 34th minute cross goal nestled into the bottom far corner. Shortly after the interval, on 48 minutes, Kathleen McGovern doubled Celtic’s lead with a brilliant finish, blasting it high into the net despite the Hearts keeper getting a touch!
With the win secured Fran Alonso’s game management, with the Champions League in mind, came into play and he made maximum use of his substitutions as the game ended 2-0.
We had two photographers at the game so plenty of match photography to share with you. And we’ve included below the match report from the excellent Celtic FC Women reporter Colette Carr to gibe you a better idea on how yesterday’s win over Hearts played out…
Celts begin life at the Penny Cars with League Cup win over Hearts
By Colette Carr
Celtic began life at the Penny Cars Stadium in a winning fashion, as they cruised to a 2-0 win against Hearts in their second SWPL Cup group game to put themselves firmly in the driving seat for qualification.
Goals from Tegan Bowie and Kathleen McGovern either side of the half made it two wins in two for the Celts who top group D, with just one game left to go when they host St Johnstone after their European adventures this week.
Around the quarter hour mark, Shen Mengyu and Maria Olafsdottir Gros proved a threatening duo, Shen impressing on her debut doing brilliantly to take it down in tight space to release Olafsdottir Gros, who went on a driving run through the middle to play in McGovern, but Charlotte Parker Smith in the Hearts goal got there first. A minute later, Shen linked up with her in again, but the Icelandic winger placed her shot just behind goal.
Bowie also continued to be a thorn in Hearts’ left hand side whipping in a cross that was well-collected, before swerving a sweetly hit strike just wide.
While the Celts gave a good account of themselves against their well-organised guests, it took until the 34th minute to break the deadlock, with Bowie popping up for her first senior goal since sending in a wonderful strike against Hearts in the second league game of last season.
Olafsdottir Gros set Bowie free on the left with a smart pass on the half-turn to allow the wide player to burst forward and see her cross skim along the coalface and beat Parker Smith to nestle into the far corner.
Just three minutes after the restart, McGovern gave the hosts a well-deserved two goal cushion. Bowie turned provider to deliver a lovely weighted through ball for McGovern to run onto, who hit it first time over the stretching hand of Parker Smith from 20 yards.
McGovern was unlucky not to convert a few more on the day, as she came close to sticking away a neat finish from close range on the hour mark, before leaving it cleverly for Shen, who’s strike on the turn curled agonisingly over.
With a minute of normal time left to play, Atkinson tried her luck at the spectacular catching the ball on the volley from distance, but she had to watch on as her strike swooped just over the crossbar.
Despite a plethora of chances, the Celts had to settle for a 2-0 win as all focus turns to an exciting challenge in the Champions League.