Celtic FC Women’s opponents today not only practice good marketing but Hibernian Women also have a right good team, one that is already sitting pretty at the top of SWPL1 and has found the perfect balance of banging in the goals and keeping the door bolted in defence.
Hibs started the season with an impressive enough 3-0 home win against Spartans but then improved on that fine start with a 4-0 win away to Motherwell. With six points out of an available six and seven goals scored to boot then Fran Alonso and his Celtic team will know they are in for a game this afternoon.
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And with both sides having an attractive playing philosophy it should also be a good game for those watching on at the Penny Cars Stadium, Airdrie, in a game that conveniently allows for a chance to take in both the Celtic and men’s teams with no frustrating crossovers as the game with Hibs kicks off at 12.30 before Celtic entertain Dundee United at Celtic Park at 3pm.
Celtic themselves have also been finding the net with ease so far this season, opening with a 4-2 win against newly promoted Aberdeen at the Balmoral Stadium, before entertaining us all with a Jekyll and Hyde performance at home to Glasgow City.
That 2-2 draw with City will surely have given the Celts a huge injection of confidence, especially after a first half where confusion reigned and Glasgow City seemed primed to hand out a thumping to Fran Alonso’s team who looked tactically disjointed in the opening 45 minutes. What happened next was the best of adverts for attracting fans to watch this Celtic team as they simply blew the 14-in-a-row champions away with an exhilarating second half performance, with substitutes Olivia Chance and Chinese international Shen Mengyu particularly responsible for getting Celtic back to parity, and in a game they could well have felt unlucky in the end just to draw.
Celtic of course have been bedding in new players but also have been adapting to tactical changes and the use in recent times of a 3-4-3 formation. There has also been a recent tendency to play more direct football with the midfield still seeking to find the right balance after the loss of Lisa Robertson to the WSL.
All of that will take time to adapt to of course, but with Celtic having had two weeks between the Glasgow City fixture and the game against Hibs it will be interesting to see if this Celtic side, with time spent on the training ground, will now start to find their rhythm and add defensive stability to their ability to put the ball in the net.
Not that you can ever second guess the tinker man Fran Alonso when it comes to formations, tactical instruction or personnel chosen from week to week. As such it would be no surprise to see Celtic return to playing a 4-3-3 formation or even a hybrid of the two approaches as he’s done in the past. And the good thing about that approach is it keeps everyone guessing. If we’ve no idea what Fran Alonso is going to do week to week, then what chance have Hibs today?
If you can’t get along to the Penny Cars stadium today the game is also live on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website at 12.30.
This has all the makings of a cracking game of football as Hibs look to hang on to top spot and Celtic look to build on that inspiring second half comeback against Glasgow City and mount a challenge for a title they narrowly missed out on last season. There are goals aplenty coming in this one.
⚽️ It’s MATCHDAY, come and support the #Ghirls as they take on the current league leaders!
— Celtic FC Women (@CelticFCWomen) September 26, 2021