Hampden in the Sun – Today it’s the Women’s Scottish Cup at the national stadium and it’s a Glasgow Derby against theRangers for Fran Alonso’s Celtic, the current holders of the Scottish Cup.
Celtic defeated Falkirk, Borroughmuir Thistle, Hearts and Glasgow City to reach the final, so that route to Hampden was clearly tougher than today’s opponents as Celtic had to knock out both the fourth team in the SWPL1 season and more notably the Champions Glasgow City.
— Celtic FC Women (@CelticFCWomen) May 28, 2023
Celtic have a great record in cup football against theRangers in Cup football, last season knocking them out of both cup competitions before going on to defeat Glasgow City in both the League Cup and Scottish Cup Finals.
This is the first cup meeting between the sides this season and Fran Alonso’s side will be desperate to get some silverware or their outstanding efforts this season, after the injury-time heartache last weekend denied them their first ever SWPL1 title.
The Scottish FA as we reported earlier in the week, did not allow Celtic fan media sites to participate in the pre-match publicity so we missed out on the chance to interview Caitlin Hayes, Scotland’s Player of the Year, and the manager Fran Alonso. We also pointed out the the Scottish FA’s policy – which they have brought into the women’s game from the men’s only because the semi-finals and final have been moved to Hampden – doesn’t appear to have applied to today’s opponents. We digress…
Despite the Scottish FA’s best efforts we have spoken to Caitlin Hayes earlier in the week and Fran Alonso on a couple of occasions this week, so are reasonably well informed on where the team is at following the disappointment last weekend and ahead of the Scottish Cup. Both are very confident that the Scottish Cup will be coming back to Paradise this afternoon!
Celtic Team News
Don’t expect experienced Lisa Robertson or Liv Chance to feature this afternoon and Hana Kerner, who suffered a serious knee injury (probably ACL) against Glasgow City at Celtic Park, is unlikely to play again this year. Hana, like Lucy Ashworth-Clifford who suffered a similar injury earlier in the season against today’s opponents, is top class. Natalie Ross is a big miss too but although she’s out with a broken arm she is also suspended after harshly receiving a second yellow card in the closing seconds of the semi-final ahead of the final against known opponents, funny that. The bone fracture picked up fighting the Celtic cause agains Partick Thistle meant that the effort as unnecessary.
Despite the injury list Celtic have just about enough quality remaining to get the job done today, but a conversation needs to be had about the resources that Celtic FC Women side should now have after two incredible seasons for the side and with the Celtic support now fully engaged with Fran Alonso and his team.
Celtic Team (3-4-2-1)
Celtic will set-up with a 3-4-2-1 at Hampden today against theRangers with the outstanding Pam Tajonar in goals and a back three of the captain Kelly Clark, Player of the Year Caitlin Hayes and Ireland international Claire O’Riordan.
Shen will be one of the the two central midfielders, the Chinese International utility player has been outstanding in that position and can also provide a goal threat – who can forget her wonderful opener in last season’s Scottish Cup Final win over Glasgow City? Maybe Maria McAneny who this week signed her first professional contract at Celtic starts middle of the park to cover for the various absentees.
The wingbacks will be Menglu on the left and Chloe Craig on the right wing and the two number tens will be the creative Jacynta and Amy Gallacher with the powerful goal-machine Tash Flint leading the line.
Tajonar, Hayes, Clark and O’Riordan; Craig, McAneny, Shen and Menglu; Gallacher, Jacynta and Flint
Subs: Logan, Otto, Fergusson, Loferski, Bowie, Cusack, Goldie, Barclay and Sharkey.
The big news on this is that there will be VAR in operation today for the first time in domestic women’s football in Scotland. Celtic could have been doing with it the last time the teams met when Caitlin Hayes had a perfectly good goal disallowed for no apparent reason and that ultimately was the moment when the destiny of the title slipped from Celtic’s hands. We were always relying on Glasgow City not winning at Ibrox after that.
Today David Munro has the whistle and he is assisted by Sean Carr and Vikki Robertson with Colin Steven having the Fourth Official duties. Heading up VAR duties will be Gavin Duncan assisted by Steven Traynor.
Fran Alonso’s Thoughts
“We will have to put what happened on Sunday behind us. We had an amazing opportunity, which in the end just didn’t happen. We are playing for a trophy in front of our amazing fans at Hampden Park and we’re looking forward to it. We need to use the disappointment and hurt from the league and transfer it into aggression, quality and passion.
“We want to put in a performance that our fans are proud of and hopefully we can bring another trophy to Paradise. The experience and connection with the fans, who broke a record number of supporters attending, and the performance was good. So all these things are massive positives.
“This year, the girls have changed Scottish football forever. Along with the other two teams, we took the title race right down to the last game of the season. Now, we have another opportunity to lift silverware. I am delighted it is just one week later, because we get the chance to play in another final and bring a trophy back to Paradise.’
“We are the current holders, and we are desperate to keep this trophy where it belongs!”
Caitlin Hayes’ Thoughts
“I think there are a lot of wrongs to be put right that need to be dealt with on Sunday. We just can’t wait for that opportunity to get back out there. Obviously last Sunday in the league, it didn’t go the way we wanted in the end.
“But the way the crowd made us feel, and cheered us on until the very end, that is something that will live with all the girls forever. I think ultimately whatever you want to be yours, you can put your mind to it. I don’t think it matters where the trophy is, you always want to come away with it in the end.
At the moment, we know it’s in our trophy room and that is where we want it to stay. I think playing on big stages each time you play there you get more comfortable. They don’t become as daunting or overwhelming. We all can’t wait to play at Hampden Park again and hopefully have a big crowd of green and white there to support us.”
Women’s Scottish Cup Final – Kick-off Time
The Women’s Scottish Cup Final for 2023 between Celtic FC Women and theRangers kicks off this afternoon, Sunday, 28 May at 1.30pm. The final is being played at Hampden for the first time.
Where to Watch the Women’s Scottish Cup Final
The match will be live on BBC 1 Scotland and BBC iPlayer – build-up from 1pm.
Tickets and Attendance Record
This is an all ticket match with both clubs handling their on ticket sales. Earlier in the week Celtic had sold 4000 tickets (£12 for adults and £6 for concessions) so that will have increased with maybe 6000 Celtic fans in the ground. Assuming the same kind of support for theRangers team then that would fall short of the attendance new record set at Celtic park last weekend, however the record could be broken if there has been a late rush in ticket sales.
⚡️ One last dance this season
🏆 Scottish Cup
🏟 Hampden Park
📺 @BBCOne Scotland
— Celtic FC Women (@CelticFCWomen) May 28, 2023