Glasgow City 2-1 Celtic – Petulance, penalty claims but an underwhelming performance

Celtic FC Women yesterday fell behind in the SWPL1 title race after losing the first head-to-head encounter in atrocious conditions to Glasgow City at Petershill Park.

Without playmaker Jacynta, serving a two match ban after her red card for using abusive language towards the referee in last weekend’s League Cup exit at the hands of Spartans, Celtic never really got going on a tight pitch made worse by the weather conditions.

Glasgow City started strongly as Celtic appeared to be getting overrun in midfield and on the flanks the usually impressive Lucy Ashworth-Clifford was having a torrid time of it. Celtic had veteran keeper Pam Tajonar to thank with a couple of decent saves plus one that was outstanding as she tipped an effort away from the postage stamp corner when it looked like a certain goal for the home side.

At the other end Kelly Clark’s looping header forced Gibson in the City goals into an equally impressive save to deny Celtic the opener. Olivia Chance, playing as the last-man at at Celtic corner failed badly to control the ball and allowed the usually deadly City striker Chinchilla a clear run on the Celtic goal but with a simple pass to the side on for an easy tap-in, she opted for power and blasted the ball over the bar, just before the interval.

The main talking point in the first half was the clear penalty that should have been awarded to Celtic when Amy Gallacher was taken out of the play after being first to the ball. The female referee seemed to blow for everything in this game but on this one occasion the whistle was silent and Celtic robbed of a stonewall spot kick. Watch the penalty claim for yourselves while we file it under Honest Mistakes.

Five minutes into the second half amid a torrential downpour Pam Tajonar rather rashly raced off her line to contest a fifty-fifty and the coming together gave the referee the chance to point to the spot. It was perhaps a more marginal call that the one Celtic didn’t get but that’s what happens when you’re playing in the Hoops. For the avoidance of doubt, both penalty claims should have been given.

Celtic exited the League Cup last weekend on a penalty shoot-out and our experienced Mexican international goalkeeper certainly didn’t look like saving any of those five spot kicks. She seemed to simply run to one side or the other without diving and if we noticed this then you can be sure that Glasgow City did. Davidson simply waited for Tajonar to run the her left before slotting the ball into the other side. Fran Alonso needs to have a word.

The attacking intent of Glasgow City seemed to end there and they reverted to time-wasting and inviting Celtic onto them, perhaps hoping for a counter attack opportunity. Lisa Robertson, at last began to show as Fran Alonso took off Gallacher and Shen with Natalie Ross and Shen Menglu coming on as Celtic chased an equaliser. With around 20 minutes remaining Liz Fergusson replaced Ashworth-Clifford as Celtic stepped up the pressure looking for an equaliser.

And on 75 minutes it duly arrived when after a nice combination with Robertson, Menglu sent in a wicked cross from the left had side which troubled Gibson and the the central defender, both leaving it for each other to deal with and the ball ended up in the bottom corner of the Glasgow City net.

Celtic looked the likely winners as the City tried desperately to hold on. And a brilliant ball over the top by Caitlin Hayes found top scorer Clarissa Larisey, this time not flagged as offside, in for her first big chance of the day. Her control was excellent but her usual composed finishing was frustrating missing and her shot went well wide when a goal looked likely.

In the final few seconds of regulation time some slack Celtic passing, caused by rushing to get the ball forward, resulted in City winning a throw-in deep into the Celtic half. Again Celtic seemed to be thinking of attacking rather than defending  and allowed City the chance to get the ball into the box where it eventually broke to Lauder to place her shot in the corner to steal all three points for Glasgow City.

It was not a Celtic performance that we’ve become used to, a fact that Fran Alonso later acknowledged. Yet Celtic were denied a stonewall penalty from a referee who in just about every instance blew the whistle all afternoon for any contact incident. All except that one. Yet it has to be noted that Celtic have conceded in the closing seconds against both Spartans and Glasgow City and that’s a bad habit that’s developing.

Celtic are paying a huge price for Jacynta’s petulance last weekend. The Australian was at Petershill and might be feeling that she owes her team-mates quite a lot after last weekend’s incident.

We can blame Jacynta’s absence, or the referee denying us a clear and obvious penalty , or the terrible weather, or a narrow pitch that is always a problem for Celtic but ultimately Fran Alonso’s players need to take the responsibly themselves for what was an unimpressive showing in a match where it really did matter.

“It’s not only frustrating that we didn’t hold on till the end, we wanted to win the game,” a frustrated Fran Alonso said afterwards.

Celtic won both cups last season beating theRangers on the way to the finals and Glasgow City in both finals but in terms of SWPL1 matches last season they continually came up short in the games that mattered against the other top sides in the league. Yesterday’s result ensures that this worrying trend continues. Next up it’s Hearts at home before an away day trip to play theRangers.

Defeat there is likely to mean Celtic will be six points behind both Glasgow City and theRangers and turning that around would be challenging to say the least.

Last word to Celtic’s captain Kelly Clark…

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email

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