Celtic FC Women head into their second game of the post-split SWPL1 campaign tomorrow with a visit from sixth placed Partick Thistle to the Excelsior Stadium in Airdrie.
The game offers the perfect opportunity for Celtic to harness the elation felt after grabbing a 99th minute Glasgow Derby leveller from skelper-supreme Caitlin Hayes at Broadwood Stadium and take that into Sunday’s vital encounter.
The Hoops are now eight points adrift of top of the table City but Celtic can cut that to five ahead of City’s trip to play Hearts – no easy task – with Fran Alonso’s side kicking off at 12.10pm, whilst City don’t start their game until 3pm, with third strugglers theRangers facing Hibs on BBC Alba with a 4.10pm start. Worth checking the start of that one to see if their thuggish Assistant manager makes an appearance after his assault on Fran Alonso in Monday night’s Shame Game.
Celtic are likely to be without Lisa Robertson due to illness, meanwhile Natalie Ross hilariously admitted to being ‘Donald Ducked’ after being asked for a post-match medical update, after being named as a substitute, initially on a needs must basis for the Glasgow Derby and ending up playing the entirety of the second half. As such, Ross is also extremely doubtful for this one.
But the sight of Chloe Craig returning from injury against Hearts and being fit enough to take her place on the bench against theRangers was a welcome sight and there’s every chance Craig will get the chance to start against Thistle on Sunday.
Chloe spoke to Celtic TV for a match preview this week – Celtic are not holding a Press Conference this week for perhaps understandable reasons – and sounded in confident mood ahead of the clash with Scotland’s sixth placed side –
“Yeah it’s been good. We didn’t play our greatest game in the first half, but in the second half I feel as if we deserved the point, so everyone buzzing about that especially the late equaliser. So everyone’s raring to go for this weekend.”
Craig made her return from injury in the 5-1 win over Hearts and has admitted it’s been great to get back to playing football again alongside her teammates.
“Obviously sitting on the sidelines isn’t great, but being able to support the girls on the sideline is just as important, but to cross the white lines with them is something that is special to me.”
Chloe also netted against Hearts on her return to the side, something the Celtic defender has admitted gave her confidence after a spell on the outside looking in, not that she cares much who scores the goals as long as they get scored–
“It’s always good to add goals to the team, and help the team push over the line but a goal’s a goal and I’m not really concentrating on who gets them as long as it’s in the back of the net.”
And it’s getting back to playing in front of the Celtic fans that has really got Chloe motivated as she explained to Celtic TV.
“I can’t wait! They’re out twelfth man. We hear them every single weekend and they push us on, when we need that little oomph shall we say. They mean the world to us and you can tell we mean the world to them.”
🗣 “I can’t wait to get back out in front of the supporters on Sunday, we hear them every single weekend and they help push us.”
🎥 Chloe Craig spoke to @CelticTV ahead of the Ghirls’ league clash against Partick Thistle.#CELPAR | #SWPL | #COYGIG🍀 pic.twitter.com/iEATL5p2Hs
— Celtic FC Women (@CelticFCWomen) March 31, 2023
There is a growing support for Celtic FC Women building every week now and the relationship between the players, staff and fans is close knit, with players regularly taking time after games to sign autographs and pose for photos with the Celtic support.
As such you know the players will give absolutely everything to continue to push for a first ever league title despite the gap at the top of the table and you get the feeling this league race has more than a few twists and turns remaining.
It’s unfortunate the game with Thistle clashes with Ange Postecoglou’s first team game with Ross County in Dingwall, and that’s something the SWPL need to get to grips with for future games.
It’s worth mentioning again that Fran Alonso did not do his usual pre-match press conference yesterday nor has he spoken to Celtic TV, these are direct consequences of the assault he suffered on Monday night in the Shame Game.
With the women’s game growing its support its really a no-brainer to ensure there are no daft clashes like this in future. If it’s not something that can be sorted out this season, it really needs to be addressed for the next campaign.
If you are able to get along to the Excelsior Stadium on Sunday to cheer on Fran Alonso and the Ghirls tickets can be purchased by following this link https://embed.futureticketing.ie/c/airdrieonians/ . Tickets are £8 four adults and £4 for concessions.
After a dramatic late finish to the Glasgow Derby, a couple of early goals on the way to an important three points would be just the ticket for Sunday’s clash with Thistle, where a win in the early kick off would add some further pressure to Glasgow City and theRangers ahead of their respective fixtures later that afternoon.