“We’re in a good position, and I’m confident going into the game,” Natalie Ross

Natalie Ross spoke to the media, including The Celtic Star, ahead of Monday’s crucial Glasgow Derby. Whoever wins this High Noon Showdown will go clear at the top of the SWPL table with just three further games remaining. So this looks like a season-defining match for the Celtic FC Women…

Here’s what Celtic’s veteran midfield warrior Natalie Ross had to say at her media conference…

Q: Does the result [vs Glasgow City]and the fact you’re now level on points with (the)Rangers change how you approach Monday’s game?

Natalie Ross: “Definitely not. We know that we need to win every game and we just focus game by game so no. Obviously, we wanted to win (against Glasgow City) but I think the performance that we put in after the disappointment on Saturday [at Hampden]was really important for us. So we bounced back, still a great team spirit, we’re ready to go for Monday and yeah, the focus is the next game against (the)Rangers.”

Q: Will it have a bit of a cup final feel about it?

Natalie Ross: “I think every game until the end of the season is going to be like a cup final. Like I say, every games important, we can’t underestimate any team. Four games left, we need to win every game. So like I said, we focus on every game and at the end, if we win the league, great, but again, we just need to focus on each game in hand and (the)Rangers is our next game. We played really well (against City), great team spirit, great attitude, we dominated the game so I’m looking forward to it.”

Q: When there’s three teams so far ahead, there’s a temptation to look at the games between Celtic, (the)Rangers and Glasgow City as being definitive but can you see other twists and turns coming in this title race?

Natalie Ross: “Well (the)Rangers obviously have dropped points to Hearts already so you can’t underestimate any team and it’s never going to be an easy game for us going midweek to Hearts but we know what it takes to beat these teams, we’ve beat these teams throughout the season and we’re in a strong position. Like I said, the bounce back was incredible cause probably a lot of people underestimated us, didn’t think we’d perform (against City), and we showed we can. The quality we’ve got on the pitch, on the bench is incredible so yeah, we’re really proud of our performance.”.

Q: Will the disappointment at Hampden against (the)Rangers play a factor in Monday’s game?

Natalie Ross: “For me, that game’s done. When we finished on Saturday, it was disappointing of course, the way we lost it, the way we performed, but for me, that game’s done. We now just focus on the next game and we need to beat (the)Rangers, we  beat (the)Rangers, we’re in a good position, and I’m confident going into that game.”

Q: You don’t feel as if the closeness between playing (the)Rangers twice in quick succession will play any sort of factor in Monday’s game?

Natalie Ross: “No, not at all. We need to play and beat the top teams, we need to play the top teams to win the league. The next game is (the)Rangers, just need to focus on (the)Rangers and we know what it takes to beat them, we can beat them, and like I say, a great performance against Glasgow City, we dominated the game, we probably should’ve gotten more out of it but it was a very strong performance going into Monday’s game.”

Q: How are you enjoying working under Elena Sadiku?

Natalie Ross: “You can see on the pitch the improvement, the intensity on and off the ball and we can see that in training. Every training session she expects a lot from us and you can see again, the players that come on the pitch are ready to perform and we’re in a great position, she’s put us in a great position to win the league title.”

Q: There are quite a lot of talented youngsters within the Celtic squad, how do you take your role as one of the more experienced players to help the young players through the title race?

Natalie Ross:  “I think it’s just keeping that level head, especially in training and games. Maybe when you can see people becoming a bit nervous and apprehensive coming to the end of the season, just having that level head, being confident and supporting them as best you can. Every time they do something well, you need to let them know. Everyone will make mistakes but it’s how you react to those mistakes. I do think we’ve got a really strong squad.”

Q: If we get a draw at Broadwood, could that be enough really?

Natalie Ross: “Again, we’re going out to win the game. We can’t lose the game but our main focus is to win the game. We’re not going to sit back and try and get a draw, we need to win that, we want to win that game, so we’ll be going to win that game on Monday.”

Q: But they need to win it, we don’t…

Natalie Ross: “Again, I’m focusing on us. I’m not fussed what they think or what they need to do, I’m just focusing on us and yeah, we’re going there to win the game.”

Q: Do you think there’s an option for Kelsey Daugherty to launch it up the park for Tash Flint to knock it on to Murphy Agnew to try and beat their high press?

Natalie Ross:  “That is an option. We like to play football and if we think that option’s on then obviously we will try to exploit it but we’ve got technical players, we know what our strengths are and that is a potential but yeah, I think we want to keep the ball as much as we can because we know how good we are when we’re in possession.”

Q: The last game of last season at Celtic Park was heart breaking but we’re wanting to turn it around and have joy instead this time.

Natalie Ross: “Of course, we want to have it in our hands going into the last game of the season but like I say, we just focus on each game and we know if we win each game then it’s going to be in our hands but we can’t get too far ahead of ourselves to think of that game at Celtic Park, we just need to focus on Monday and we’re in a great position for the game on Monday.”

Q: Did the experience of going right to the wire last season help build some character in the squad leading into the race this season?

Natalie Ross: “I think it’s gave us hunger and belief that we can do it. I think a lot of people, maybe some players, maybe had a little bit of doubt. If you look at the budgets, (the)Rangers are well ahead of us and probably should be beating every team in the league but we’re competing all the time and I think it gives you that hunger because I’ve won the league years and years ago with Hibs so I know what it takes, but I think the players do really really believe this year. And like I say, we win every game, of course we win the league, but we’re all hungry for it. We believe it, there’s a great excitement around the squad, we’re really looking forward to Monday’s game.”

Q: After the good performance against Glasgow City, do you think that’s helped the mentality going into the game against (the)Rangers?

Natalie Ross:  “Of course. It’s easy for us to just not respond to what happened on Saturday, that would’ve been an easy thing, it’s hard mentally and physically to do what we did last night and we done it very very well, we were very strong, we created so many chances, we could have gotten more out of the game but I definitely think it puts us in a strong position for Monday.”

Q: How much are you enjoying the change in style that’s been implemented since Elena came in?

Natalie Ross: “It’s exciting football, it’s fast-paced football, we like to keep the ball and yeah, I’m a technical player, I like to play short passes, long passes as well to exploit the back line but yeah, it’s exciting football and that’s what we want the fans to see as well. We can see the crowds that are coming to watch us, everyone’s enjoying it, the kids that stay behind to speak to you so there’s definitely been an influence in that and yeah, looking forward to the next few games.”

Watch Natalie Ross’ media conference below…

Don’t forget the big SWPL1 title showdown between theRangers and Celtic FC Women at Broadwood Stadium in Cumbernauld is live on Sky Sports tomorrow lunchtime. Kick-off is at 12 Noon. The two sides are level on points with four games to play. Celtic have a significant goal  difference advantage. The winner of this game is more than likely going to go on and win the title.  Celtic FC Women are chasing a first ever SWPL1 title and a chance to make history.


About Author

I'm a student journalist and Celtic supporter. I'm delighted to have been recently appointed women's football writer for The Celtic Star, where the coverage of the Celtic FC Women's team has been incredible and unrivalled over the past three seasons.

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