Aberdeen away followed by a visit from the Champions Glasgow City on match day two, is as tough as start as Celtic could have been given in their SWPL campaign. Yesterday against a decent Aberdeen side up at the Balmoral Stadium in Aberdeen, Fran Alonso’s side came away with the three points with a 4-2 win but nothing was settled until a penalty was awarded deep into the 4 minutes of stoppage side. Chloe Craig seldom misses from the spot and her effort convincingly mould the bottom left hand corner of the goal to wrap up the win.
Playing in a back three, as Fran Alonso adjusted his side’s shape to counter how he thought newly promoted SWPL2 Champions might play, this was Craig’s second goal of the game with the other two coming from Celtic new lethal goal-threat Charlie Wellings. She is one of those player who knows were the goal is and is always in a hurry to try to find the back of the net every time she gets the ball. League top scorer for this season? You bet she’s after that accolade.
You can read Niall J match report in the link below.
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Afterwards the Celtic manager Fran Alonso and Chloe Craig both outlined their thoughts on what was a tough challenge from an Aberdeen side that already look well at home in the top women’s league in Scotland.
“I think it was a great game, we knew we were facing a very good team, well organised,” Alonso told the official Scottish Women’s Premier League website. “They did a few tactical alterations during the game so I love it. And at the end obviously a good result for us, it’s a very difficult place to come and get back home with three points.
“We could have scored a few more goals but they got a few chances and scored two goals and near the end at 3-2 anything could have happened, so it was a great game and I’m very happy with the 3 points.
The Celtic manager was delighted with both the performance and the goals scored by his new striker Charlie Wellings but reckons that Wellings apart, the rest of the team need to look to sharpen up in front of goal. “We knew they liked to press so we put players in certain positions to attack pressing, I’m very happy with the performance, we may have to work on our being more clinical – maybe not Charlie – because we could have killed the game earlier.
Chloe Craig, who also scored two goals also came in for praise from the Spanish coach. “She always gives you a good performance wherever she plays, full back or centre-back and her stats are incredible always from defence, always from the defence line but she is always very high in assists and goals so she is a very important player for us. She’’s been outstanding.
Yesterday for Alonso was all about putting down a marker for the new season and not making the same mistake of losing on the opening day as happened last season and from then on playing catch-up. “Today was obviously the first league game. Last year in the first game we had a defeat and obviously it hurt us so much, so today was about making sure we don’t make the same mistake and we knew that coming here, it’s a long trip by coach, we knew it was going to be tough but I think we got a good game of football,” Alonso said.
Chloe Craig also outlined her thoughts after a tough fought 4-2 win in Aberdeen. “We knew it was going to be a tough game coming up here, it’s a brand new team we hadn’t played before, with them coming up from the league below.
“We knew it was going to be challenging and we took the game to them and we felt comfortable. At times they shut us down a little bit but we felt in control for the full game,” the Celtic star stated.
On her goals Chloe was certainly pleased to have got off the mark so early in the new season. “What can I say, I just keep going and try to get the win no matter what but it’s lovely to be on the scoresheet. We try to push forward and get as many successful patterns of play as possible, we had three at the back today, which was a bit of a change but it worked for us so we’ll soon see how we got on with this season.”
Looking ahead to next Sunday’s visit from Glasgow City Chloe knows that another three points, even this early in the season could be significant come the end of the campaign and Celtic eyes are already on that top spot and and a return to the Champions League, this time as Champions.
“From our last season and our team environment we’ve shown we are ready to push on and try to get that top spot,” she said. “We’ve had a taste of Champions League and while it fell short for us it is something that we want again and that we are hungry for so we’re treating every game as if it is a cup final to try to push to get that spot.
“But this league is getting better and better each week so we know that every game is going to be challenging so we just need to make sure we turn up and are ready for it.
On Charlie Wellings, Chloe had this to say: “She’s top class. We know that we can always rely on her and she’s a bit of an interesting player, you don’t know what she’s going to do but she always pulls it out the bag for us.”
Why not try to get along to the Celtic v Glasgow City game at the Penny Cars Stadium in Airdrie next Sunday – 12 September – or alternatively watch it live on BBC Alba. Kick-off is at 4.10pm.
Here’s Fran Alonso speaking to Celtic TV after the game…
Celtic: Johnstone, Shorts (Hayes 82), Craig, Chance, Teegarden (Toland 88), Clark, Atkinson, Olafsdottir Gros (Mengyu 82), Wellings, Bowie (Warrington 82), McGovern (Larisey 75): Sub not used, Logan
📅 Show your support for the Celts this Sunday in a big early acid test 👀
— Celtic FC Women (@CelticFCWomen) September 6, 2021