It’s Green, White and Goldie – 17 year-old Clare’s impressive Celtic debut

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SWPL1 – Sunday 5 Feb 2023 – Celtic FC Women 3-0 Aberdeen

It took a wee while for the Ghirls to get motoring at the Excelsior stadium in Celtic’s live BBC Alba SWPL clash at home to Aberdeen, but a goal with the last chance of the opening 45 minutes and a further two goals after the break, ultimately saw a slow starting Celtic eventually grind down their obstinate opponent, with a mix of aerial prowess from set-piece deliveries and a fine third goal with a skilful 17-year-old debutant at the heart of the matter.

Chloe Craig breaks the deadlock with a powerful header just before the half-time whistle

It took until the last action of a sluggish first half for Celtic to eventually make the breakthrough and it was that ever-present threat from set-piece deliveries which eventually saw the Dons resistance overcome, as the ever-reliable Chloe Craig bulleted home a header from just inside the six-yard box following a delightfully flighted McAneny corner kick.

Celtic’s second followed much the same route when Jacynta’s pin-point flighted corner kick made its way to the front post and was met with authority from Claire O’Riordan, where a glancing headed effort had too much pace for McCann in the Aberdeen goal, who despite managing to get a touch on the ball couldn’t keep it out the net and Celtic were now in total control.

Claire O’Riordan doubles Celtic lead early in the second half with a powerful header

The Hoops then wrapped up their afternoon’s work at the Excelsior stadium with the best goal of the game.

Clare Goldie had an impressive debut

Olivia Chance played a wonderfully weighted pass down the touchline for debutant Clare Goldie, who showed a calmness that defied her tender years to evade the challenging Aberdeen defence, hit the by-line and produce the most delicate of cut backs into the path of Natalie Ross, who not so gently advised anyone in ear-shot to leave the ball well alone, before driving a wonderful finish past McCann to complete Celtic’s well-deserved 3-0 win.

Natalie Ross celebrates scoring Celtic’s third goal against Aberdeen

The three-goal win over Aberdeen leaves Celtic a point ahead of theRangers – who won 4-0 against Dundee United – in second place in the SWPL1 standings, and only three points behind league leaders Glasgow City who impressively thumped an often resolute Partick Thistle side 8-1 in their fixture yesterday.

Fran Alonso stated post-match that Celtic’s first half performance was not quite to his liking, but admitted the goal just before half-time settled any concerns of frustration in the camp ahead of the second half, a second 45 minutes which produced a performance far more akin to what Alonso demands of his high-paced and skilful Celtic side.

Fran Alonso wasn’t particularly pleased with the performance afterwards.

“We were a different team in the second half, and we made it very difficult for them to defend against us.” Alonso told Celtic TV – and you can hear the manager’s as ever honest post-match assessment here…

And prepare to feel old this morning – or perhaps that’s just your writer – by watching Clare Goldie describe both her impactful full debut for the Hoops and how the news she was making her first start for Celtic was broken the day before the game.

A fine result for Celtic then after a slow start to proceedings. And although captain Kelly Clark was the quite rightly recipient of the player of the match award, it is 17 year-old Clare Goldie who will be celebrating the most this morning after an impressive full debut was capped off with a fantastic assist for Natalie Ross to cap off an important win after a tiring schedule three games in a week for Fran Alonso’s title challenging Celtic side.

Here’s how the SWPL1 table looks after yesterday’s matches with all three title challengers winning. Celtic play host to theRangers on for some title chasing Friday night football on Friday 24 February at the Excelsior Stadium in Airdrie (kick-off is 7pm). As you know theRangers are the current champions and it’s anticipated that they will have around 2000 supporters at this game.  Three points for Celtic will set us up for the game against current leaders Glasgow City at the start of March, also at Airdrie and a chance for Celtic to hit the front in the SWPL title race.

Can we look at mobilising the Celtic support for the Friday night on League Cup Final weekend where two Celtic wins will make it a magical weekend?

Next up is a tricky away match against Spartans on Wednesday night (8 February, 7.45pm kick off) at Ainslie Park where Celtic will be on a revenge mission after the Edinburgh side’s shock League Cup win over the Hoops back in October.

Then it’s back to Scottish Cup duties at the weekend for Fran Alonso’s side with another trip to the capital this time to take on minnows Boroughmuir Thistle at Meadowbank Sports Centre (Sunday 12 February, 12pm kick off).

Niall J

Some additional match photography from yesterday can be viewed in our Gallery below…

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About Author

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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