Celtic v Spartans – “I am really happy with the intensity at training and application of the girls,” Fran Alonso

Celtic responded to a 2-0 SWPL1 opening day reverse to Glasgow City by putting Ten-in-a-row past a hapless Hearts side last Sunday. Tomorrow the Celts entertain Spartans in their first home game of the season. It’s a game you can see straight after the Men’s trip to Fir Park with a 2pm Kick off at K-Park Training Academy, East Kilbride, with the game being shown live on the BBC.

Speaking to CelticFC.Net Head coach Fran Alonso was clearly delighted with his sides showing last weekend and hoping it can lead to some momentum ahead of a tough game against Spartans:

“This is the way we have to work. They know that applies to every single training session and every single game. It is about intensity and it is about heart.

“On Sunday, the girls got the message. We want to be intense in every single game. We have to be intense, we have to be aggressive. I am really happy with the intensity at training and application of the girls,”

“It is a home game, so we have to try and get the three points and are expecting a very tough game. They were just beaten 1-0 against a tough opposition at the weekend, so they are going to be strong.

“They have played Hibernian and Rangers, so two very tough opponents. They are always difficult to break and aggressive, and are a team that defends very well, they try to hit on the counter. They will be tough but we will respect them.”

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Spartans have lost their opening two fixtures this season but both have been narrow one goal defeats, with firstly a 2-1 reverse at Hibs before going down to a 1-0 defeat to theRangers, whom Celtic will play the week following their Spartans’ encounter. As such there may have to be a level of patience from the Celtic team that wasn’t quite required in last week’s 10-0 thumping of Hearts.

Sunday is an opportunity for the Celts to get six points out of an available nine before heading into the first Glasgow Derby of the season and Celtic Midfield enforcer Lisa Roberston believes last weekend has given the Celts the lift they need to face the upcoming challenges.

Robertson told CelticFC.net:

“It was a really good game at the weekend and everyone is happy with it, so we’re just looking to build. Obviously it is really good that we got goals from all over the park. It was a great performance, and we just have to keep building.”

Robertson at 28 years of age has plenty of top flight experience and has won silverware with Glasgow City and top-level experience with Hibs, so knows what it takes to get over the line. Something she’ll be passing on to her Celtic teammates:

“My advice to them is to keep training, work hard, take advice, listen to the experienced players and also express yourself because these young players are here because they are talented players,” “So take the advice, play and develop as the season goes on.”

And what about Sunday’s opponents Spartans? Much like coach Alonso, Lisa Robertson is expecting a real battle for the points.

“I’ve had lots of clashes with Spartans especially from my Hibernian days,” she said, “and we know it will be a tough game because they are very well-organised.

“Spartans will always be hard to beat. However, if we just focus on what we want to do and if work to the best of our ability and put in the same effort as we did against Hearts last Sunday and as we do in training, then I think the game will take care of itself.”

A consistent message coming from coaching staff and the squad then ahead of what is clearly likely to be a far tighter affair that last weekend’s landslide win.

The SWPL encounter with Spartans will be available to watch live on the BBC Sport website and app. The BBC’s excellent coverage of the women’s game this season continues with Iona Ballantyne presenting the coverage from 1.55pm and with Stuart Mitchell on commentary duties.

It’s the perfect destination to head to following the men’s team game against Motherwell. Let’s hope we’re toasting a double success for the Celts on Sunday.

Niall J

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As a Bellshill Bhoy I was taken to my first Celtic game in the summer of 1987. It was Billy McNeill’s return to Celtic Park as manager and Celtic lost 5-1 to Arsenal . I thought I was a jinx, I think my Grandfather might have thought the same. It was finest gift anyone ever gave me when he walked me through Parhead's gates.

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