We’re on the road again tomorrow afternoon as Celtic FC Women visit Edinburgh to take on Hibs at Meadowbank Stadium. Currently sitting second in the table, trailing the leaders by six points, we need three points to remain a proper contender in the title race. A return to a back-three saw us overcome Hamilton Accies and Motherwell in our last two games, so the manager will be hoping to continue this run.
We have already played Hibs at Meadowbank this season and you may remember that this fixture was originally scheduled to take place at the Excelsior. It had to be moved due to Airdrie playing Hearts in the stadium on the same day, so we will host Hibs twice after the split to make up for unexpected away day.
Hibs recently overcome Glasgow City in the Women’s Scottish Cup, winning 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 stalemate. They have only lost one of their last five, and their recent games have been high-scoring encounters.
Last time we visited Meadowbank, the Celts came out on top with a 4-2 scoreline. Hibs have never beaten Celtic, with the only good result for them coming in a 1-1 draw at the start of 2022.
60% of Hibs’ home games this season have resulted in a victory for them, with an average of three goals being scored by the hosts. 30% of their games have ended in clean sheets, so there is a defensive problem that Celtic can exploit, but they do tend to hold more of the ball with an average of 57% possession in their favour. They take an average of 17 shots per match and convert 20% of them, with forward Jorian Baucom being tied with Amy Gallacher at the top of the SWPL goalscoring charts.
As we know, the stats certainly favour Celtic. The Hoops have won 80% of their away games and record an average of 2.43xG per match. We score an average of four, take 18 shots, with a 16% conversion rate.
All stats are courtesy of FootyStats. Percentages and averages only cover games played in the Scottish Women’s Premier League and UEFA Women’s Champions League.
All in all, it’s looking good for the Glasgow side as long as we can keep an eye on Baucom. We went three nil up before half-time when we faced each other back in September but gave them some hope as they hit us back with two. We did win the game, but it would be nice if this time around we could look more comfortable. Three points are three points though at the end of the day.
Elena Sadiku spoke to Celtic TV ahead of the trip to the capital. She said: “It’s been busy. We have had different reactions to firstly against Hamilton and then against Motherwell but what makes me happy is that we want more and the players want more when we talk about performance. So I am happy with that reaction that everyone wants more and it’s just going to make us stronger and better as a team.”
“So far no injuries, everyone is fresh and ready for a new game. That’s our job for every game, we need to perform to get the three points and it’s not going to be any different on Sunday. We need to focus on ourselves and perform so we can get the three points.”
Celtic Team News
As Elena Sadiku told Celtic TV she has no injury problems for the Hibs game. Shen Mengyu returned to the bench against Motherwell so it’s likely she is now fit and ready for action. To be honest, I wouldn’t make many changes from the line-up last time out, so this would be my prediction…
Murphy Agnew linking up with a high-playing Chloe Craig on the left side, with Maria McAneny on the left could be a brilliant sight to see.
I love the idea of a front-three made up of Kit Loferski, Tash Flint and Amy Gallacher, so I hope to see this utilised more (if it proves to work). That’s so much attacking power that it surely can’t go wrong, especially if we surround them with creative players on the wing.
I haven’t had the chance to watch her play a full game so I’m limited to what I’m seeing through highlights, but giving Clare Goldie another run as a defensive midfielder is likely what the gaffer will go for. Natalie Ross can drop deep to support her but also take up that attacking midfielder role to overload the opponent’s box.
I was going to highlight this in my next analysis but to prove my point, overloading the box seems to work. You can feel the panic in this still image as six Celtic players move in on their area. If we put several attackers forward, one is bound to score.
While on the topic of our current setup and tactics, Caitlin Hayes and whoever supports her on the left are playing high and making runs into the final third, while one defender stays back to prevent any counter-attacks. The DM is staying slightly ahead of that defensive line, but dropping back to move into a player’s position to cover them if they move forward.
Celtic Player’s View
Maria McAneny previewed the upcoming game with Celtic TV, saying: “It’s a three-game week so we all need to be fresh and ready. We’re all looking forward to the challenge at the weekend.
“It’s enjoyable [playing in a slightly different position]. Anytime you play for Celtic, its enjoyable. It’s something a bit different but I’ve enjoyed the last two games and hopefully looking to progress this weekend.
“We had a good win on Wednesday, then we had a good win at the weekend, so we’re looking to take that into the weekend and have a good performance. Make it right and get three wins in a row. We get loads of training in. We get to practise everything and then take it into games, so it’s about doing that again this weekend.
“Hibs away is always a tough game so we have to make sure we’re on the ball and just get the job done.”
Clyde Buchan takes the whistle this afternoon, supported by Ewan Pow and Andrew Simmonds. Robert Bowie has been named as the Fourth Official.
This tie kicks off at 16:10 and the game will take place at Meadowbank Stadium. Good travel links if you are planning on attending! Or switch channels at the final whistle if you are watching the men’s team in Scottish Cup action at St Mirren.
Where to Watch
This game is available to watch live on BBC Alba. You can buy tickets here. Finally, a Celtic FC Women game we can watch on television!
I’ve been shocking at these even when I do back up my points, so I’ll just give one off the top of my head this week. Hibs 1 – 4 Celtic. One more thing – Half Season Tickets are on sale now for those who wish to cheer on our Ghirls for the rest of the season. If you can make it, definitely buy one to secure your attendance in what will be an exciting title race.
👊 It couldn't be a more exciting time to commit your support to #CelticFC Women.
Cheer on the Ghirls at all remaining #SWPL home games with half price Season Tickets available to buy online now! 🎟
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— Celtic FC Women (@CelticFCWomen) February 8, 2024