Joy to despair as Celtic outplayed in Glasgow Derby defeat

Before the highs of a wonderful Celtic performance at Tynecastle yesterday afternoon, Sky Sports showed the first SWPL1 Glasgow Derby of the season between Fran Alonso’s Celtic side and theRangers women.

Both sides were undefeated in the league going into the game with Celtic having won all ten of their opening matches while theRangers were two points behind having drawn with current Champions Glasgow City.

Celtic had beaten Glasgow City 2-1 at Airdrie a few weeks back and there were actually hints in that match that were clearly not heeded yesterday and ended up costing Celtic the three points. Against Glasgow City, Celtic took the lead and the visitors went down to ten players, yet it was City who forced the issue to level the match. A Colette Cavanagh strike in stoppage time won it for Celtic but it was a lucky escape and a warning that could have been heeded.

Cavanagh wins a fifty fifty

Not everyone watches all the SWPL games and many might just tune in when the bigger games are live on Sky Sports. Most will probably not have watched a game since that dominant Scottish Cup Final win over theRangers back in May when there was no doubt that Fran Alonso’s team were better in just about every department and would have been regarded by many as the best team in Scotland.

Maybe that’s why the crowd was so high at Airdrie yesterday afternoon, although the ludicrous decision from Hearts to half our already low allocation for the Scottish Premiership match of the day, maybe helped too.

Fran Alonso is always positive and has been talking up this side as the best team he’s assembled so far at Celtic. So the Celtic support making their way to the Excelsior stadium in Airdrie would have been confident of another Celtic triumph. Few would have agreed with Fran after watching that game.

theRangers recruited their new manager Jo Potter in the summer, she has the playing a new system and she seems to have strengthened their side. After a cagey first forty-five minutes, when Celtic were slow in their passing and looked extremely hesitant in their play, the teams went off at the break goalless. Fran Alonso after the match reckoned Celtic dominated the first half, that is maybe not an opinion many watching would share.

Realising Celtic were there for the taking, Jo Potter’stheRangers side started the second half on the front foot but in a rare surge forward Caitlin Hayes won a corner when she found herself out on the right wing and she then out jumped theRangers defence – who quite understandably had been worried about the Irish international defender’s aerial all afternoon – to head Celtic in front.

Sadly that was as good as it got for Celtic, as Alonso’s side was over-run in midfield. The Celtic manager later admitted that he made mistakes with his substitutions and it has to be said taking Cavanagh off was surprising to say the least.

Celtic struggled to put two passes together and fell deeper and deeper and before the inevitable happened when Kirsty Maclean could hardly believe her luck as she made her way unmarked into the Celtic penalty area and had all the time in the world to find the bottom corner.

The Celtic penalty area was packed with defenders but you’ll have seen more movement at a bus-stop as the visitors movement created another nice goal this time from the mobile Rio Hardy. Her well placed, unchallenged header won the three points for theRangers and the top spot in the SWPL1, and in doing so ended their own inferiority complex over what was a powerful and impressive Celtic side last season – theRangers could hardly believe their luck!

There’s a point that we have made before and it’s worth making again. Celtic have the third largest budget in the SWPL or to put it another way, the smallest budget out of the three title contenders and by some margin. With so many top players leaving in the summer, notably Jacynta, Tash Flint and Pamela Tajonar, recruitment was always going to be a challenge and despite that brilliant start to the season with ten wins from ten, yesterday the difference was clear to see.

Celtic’s main striker this season is Kit Loferski. She didn’t train last week and had to settle for a place on the bench, with Fran Alonso believing he could get just ten minutes game-time out of the American at the most. Her place was taken by youngster Murphy Agnew as in such an important game, Celtic had no-one else in the squad.

It pains to say but the better team won yesterday and that record breaking crowd at Airdire went home disappointed only to have their day made by that outstanding Celtic performance through at Tynecastle.

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who 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

1 Comment

  1. A good team needs talent fitness and desire , both teams were pretty even on the first two but a huge gulf in the later , so disappointing after our great start to the season , thankfully there is still a long way to go , Hail hail COYGIG.