With just three games left to play, any one of three teams could win the SWPL1 title, finish second to claim the second Champions League spot or end up third and empty handed in what has been a remarkable season for Women’s football in Scotland.
This is the first season under the SPFL for the SWPL and the top division’s split has been a huge success, with some competitive matches in every round as the top six play each other home and away.
Glasgow City currently have a five points advantage over both second placed Celtic and theRangers in third spot. But having already lost to both their title rivals at home in the split, Glasgow City face away matches against both Celtic and theRangers in their final three matches. They might need to win one of them if they are going to end up as Champions but it is not going to be easy.
On Thursday, The Celtic End will rally behind the Ghirls in a must win game and offer a glimpse of what Celtic Park could look and sound like on a regular basis.
To learn more about The Celtic End, check out episode 23 of the NCC podcast which will be released tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/ffnpOcc8mV
— North Curve Celtic (@NCCeltic) May 8, 2023
Celtic need to win all three remaining games – starting with the game on Thursday night against Glasgow City at Celtic Park. A win for City will practically guarantee them the title and will certainly end Celtic’s challenge so the stakes could not be higher for Fran Alonso’s side who will have the backing of a huge support and maybe even Ange Postecoglou and his Celtic players. Either way Carl Starfelt is sure to be there!
If Celtic get the victory then they have an any trip to Edinburgh next midweek before the last match of the season against Hearts at the Excelsior Stadium in Airdrie, although that could change if Celtic reckon that Thursday night at Celtic Park is an experiment worth repeating if there is a title party on the cards.
Before Celtic take on Glasgow City on Thursday evening, theRangers play Partick Thistle – who gave Celtic a major fright yesterday – the evening before over at Broadwood Stadium in Cumbernauld. The current SWPL1 Champions know that a win will see them leapfrog Celtic and narrow the gap on Glasgow City to just two points.
Celtic currently have a better goal difference over theRangers of plus five but that will obviously be reduced or even overtaken by a victory for theRangers over Thistle.
If City win they are effectively home and dry, a draw takes Celtic out of the title equation but leaves theRangers in with a great chance to win it with a better goal difference that Glasgow City, so a final day win could see them retaining their title.
A Celtic win will mean that both Celtic and theRangers are two points behind City with two games to go and with the two rivals having to play each other on the closing day.
A win for theRangers could deliver the title for Fran Alonso’s side provided the goal difference advantage is not lost.
One of the other three teams – Hibs, Hearts or Partick Thistle – could throw a spanner in a title challenge in these remaining games, as indeed Thistle almost managed yesterday. indeed they were very unlucky to lose 2-1 to Celtic thanks to yet another get out of jail goal from taliswoman Caitlin Hayes, who this time became the Celtic hero in the 96th minute yesterday to rescue the title challenge with a dramatic late winner.
Hayes had given Celtic a just about deserved half-time lead but the second half was perhaps the worst 45 minute performance from a Fran Alonso Celtic side in three seasons. Dreadful doesn’t do it justice but at this time of the year it’s all about the result and getting the three points and that was achieved. And while this was a chance to add to the goal difference situation, no hard was done as theRangers won away to Hibs by 1-0 while Glasgow City improved their own goal difference by winning 3-0 against Hearts, taking their goal difference level with theRangers on 94 with Celtic on 99.
Yesterday’s Partick Thistle v Celtic was held at Petershill Park where both Thistle and Glasgow City play their home games. The City coaches were watching Celtic struggle and stoney faces couldn’t be maintained deep into stoppage time as Thistle looked set to cause a major upset. Smiles on the City coaches faces broke out before Caitlin Hayes wiped them away, dramatically and quite remarkably given her exploits for the Celtic cause this season.
With the run-in on his mind Fran Alonso gambled making six changes to his strongest side which started against theRangers last Thursday. It almost back-fired but we got away with it. Now it’s back to playing the strongest team for the games against City, Hibs and Hearts that can hopefully deliver a first ever SWPL title for Celtic.
So get yourselves along to Paradise on Thursday night. The Green Brigade and The Bhoys have already sold out their Celtic Wall section in the lower Jock Stein stand and lower North Stand is going to be packed too. It’s a vital match for Celtic and a victory could set up a title party ten days later.