Forfar Farmington v Celtic Women – SWPL1 Preview

Celtic head into Sunday’s SWPL1 encounter with Forfar Farmington brimming with confidence, it is however unlikely the Celts opponents will be feeling quite so elated.

Celtic on the back of three consecutive wins in only eight days over Hearts, theRangers and Hibs, head to Station Park sensing an opportunity not only for a fourth victory on the spin but also a chance to stick a few past a Forfar side who have been haemorrhaging goals of late, most recently an 11-0 defeat at the hands of theRangers last weekend.

However, for this Celtic side there will be no chance of taking anything for granted. A fortnight ago an expected avalanche of goals failed to materialise against Hearts at K-Park as Celtic were thwarted until scoring three in a much improved second half, and against tomorrow’s opponents last time around Celtic needed late, late goals from Natalie Ross and Chloe Craig to grab a share of the spoils after Forfar had taken a surprise two goal lead at K-Park.

As such, although a goal grab would be welcomed, with a huge goal difference deficit requiring attention, a simple return home with three more points in the bag would more than suffice as Celtic push for a Champions league spot and ultimately a league title that is still up for grabs.

Last weekend Head-Coach – and white blazer and red T-shirt aficionado -Fran Alonso chose to leave Sarah Teegarden out the starting eleven – an understandable decision after playing so many games on the back of year out with and ACL injury – however on Sunday you’d fully expect the creative talents of Celtic’s American playmaker to return to the fold. On either side of Teegarden, the speedy ‘skelper Mariah Lee and skilful Jacynta have both looked fine additions to the Celtic side and both are capable of switching wings to confuse the opposition. And with Sarah Ewens scoring almost every week it, is a fearsome front four that could and should face the Forfar defence on Sunday.

That may be harsh on the likes of Rachel Donaldson and last weekend’s scorer of the equaliser against Hibs Kate Nicolson, however when Celtic need goals almost as much as three points on Sunday that front four bring a great balance of pace, skill, creativity and ruthlessness in front of goal.

Behind that attacking quartet both Lisa Robertson and Anna Filbey are the perfect support act and you’d expect that to be the case on Sunday, unless of course Natalie Ross is anywhere near back to match fitness. Whilst at the back Celtic are spoiled for options.

Chloe Warrington seems to have made the left back role her own after being dropped from the squad for the Glasgow City defeat, and Chloe Craig and Caitlin Hayes are rarely delivering less than excellence. Keeva Keenan meanwhile looks every inch a star in the making at right back as well as being something of a jack of all trades. Yet none of those players can be sure of a starting spot not when the likes of Jodie Bartle and Kelly Clark are waiting in the wings and have never put a foot wrong themselves.

In fact, the depth of Celtic’s squad throughout is an impressive balance of hungry and improving youth, allied to talented experience and is testament to Alonso’s coaching abilities when you consider both title rivals have more expensively assembled squads. Indeed, Alonso’s decision to rotate the squad in the game against Hearts was indicative of the trust he has in every player playing their part in the league run-in and it certainly worked out in the end.

As such in a game Alonso may well assume Celtic do not require a full team to win, he may well make similar changes again, but you’d hope with this game being away from home and the points being essential, particularly with the substantially improved financial packages announced by UEFA this week for next seasons Champions League, that the Spaniard will go with as strong an attacking side as possible.

Celtic’s game with Forfar Farmington kicks off on Sunday at 2pm – straight after the Men’s visit to Ibrox. And you can watch for less than the price of a civilised pint on Forfar’s pay-per-view live stream. If Sunday’s game is anything like the standard we’ve seen in recent games, £4 seems more than worth the financial outlay. And where else will you see Fran’s next wardrobe malfunction? Is it too cold for a Hawaiian Shirt in Forfar?

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 the finest gift anyone ever gave me when he walked me through Parkhead's gates.

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