Women’s Scottish Cup: “I’m very calm because I am so confident in the players,” Elena Sadiku

Celtic FC Women manager Elena Sadiku and club captain Kelly Clark were at Hampden yesterday for the pre-match media conference ahead of tomorrow’s Women’s Scottish Cup semi-final Glasgow Derby between Celtic and theRangers at the national stadium (kick-off 12.15pm)

After being excluded from the pre-match media conferences for both the Women’s Scottish Cup semi-final and final last year, The Celtic Star argued that the Scottish FA were wrong to impose their rules for the men’s game onto a women’s game still in its infancy and frankly needing all the media attention possible, including fan media.

That argument certainly has merit and we’re glad to report today that the barriers have now been broken down and that fan media will now be allowed access to Hampden for women’s football. The Celtic Star was there at Hampden yesterday and actually attended both Celtic’s pre-match media conference with Elena and Kelly and also theRangers conference, just to compare the two. Both club captains spoke very well as indeed did Elena, who was careful, clever and respectful throughout….

Afterwards the photos you see here were being taken with the cup and when it was theRangers turn, I was standing on the exact spot in the technical area where Brendan stood on Saturday. Elena came over and we had a nice wee chat. I said to her that when we get her team sheet we’re seeing surprises but inevitably she’s been proved spot on, with Murphy Agnew starting last weekend ahead of Kit Loferski and scoring a hat-trick a good example of that.  She said: “I just know my players so I know who should play.”

Celtic FC Women captain Kelly Clark at Hampden yesterday ahead of tomorrow’s Women’s Scottish Cup semi-final against theRangers at the national stadium…

We’ll cover Kelly’s conversation later, where we took her on a trip down memory lane to the previous two Women’s Scottish Cup Final wins but before that here’s how the conversation went with the Celtic FC Women manager Elena Sadiku.

Q: These Glasgow Derby matches tend to be tight affairs, is that what you are expecting?

Elena Sadiku: “Yes for sure, we know that (the)Rangers is a great team but we are too, so it’s going to be a tight game, it’s going to be good and that’s what we’re looking forward to.

Q: Have you seen a gradual progression in your team, especially against (the)Rangers? Does that fill you with confidence?

Elena Sadiku: “I think when it comes to the performances, that is the most important. You can see from how we have been performing lately that we are getting into better positions, every time we play.”

Q: How much confidence does that give you?

Elena Sadiku: “A lot. Obviously it’s not only me getting confidence, the most important thing is the players and how they feel. It’s just a nice feeling seeing how the players are performing in every game. That’s something that I’m happy about and obviously for us as a staff and a club. But it just makes me happy to see them doing what they enjoy and playing well.”

Q: How special would it be for you as a manager who has just come into Celtic to get the team to a final here at the National stadium?

Elena Sadiku: “Obviously we have a good confidence about the moments we share together and that’s something that we want to make sure we try our very best to be as successful as possible. That’s something you come to training every day to try to achieve and to get the best ending as well.”

Q: Have you noticed if there’s been an added excitement in training this week with this being a big semi-final, a (Glasgow) Derby and a game at the National stadium?

Elena Sadiku: “I want the players to feel the same excitement for every game that they play because in the end it’s all the results and performances that’s going to count. But obviously it’s a semi-final and it’s against (the)Rangers who we know are a great team. So we need to be performing at our best to make that final spot open.”

Q: It is obviously important in terms of getting to the final but could it be important as a statement the league closing and it being so tight at the top of the table? Whichever team wins this game might have a bit of a psychological advantage going back into league action afterwards?

Elena Sadiku: “It depends on how you look at it. We have been making sure that we’ve been coming into this Women’s Scottish Cup treating it as a different competition. Now we only have one more training then one game where we can go into the final and that’s the only thing that we are going to focus on.

Q: Because it”s a one-off knock-out game, do you approach it any different to going into a game against (the)Rangers in the league?

Elena Sadiku: “I think it’s going to be the same aim. We are going to perform the best we can and hopefully that’s good enough.”

Q: Have you been practicing penalties this week? Do you plan to practice them?

Elena Sadiku: “Why are you laughing? Obviously we know that it can come to extra-time, it can come to penalties so that is something we need to be prepared for and that’s my job to prepare the players for every situation.

Q: Is there a chance that we could see a goalkeeper taking a penalty?

Elena Sadiku: (laughs) Let’s see.

Q: In terms of since you have come in (back in January) and the growth of the team, where does it sit in terms of where you want it to be at this point of the season?

Elena Sadiku: “Obviously it’s a great feeling sitting here (at Hampden) and us growing as a team and now when it’s one game left in the cup and probably playing one more if we perform well this Saturday then we have five more games in the league that we’ll need to focus on. But I think I’m going to lie if I don’t say it’s been exactly how I wanted it be and that’s something we need to take care of.

Q: In terms of the character of your squad and the attributes needed to win these type of matches, when you look around your dressing room you see the quality you have. Does that give you confidence that the Ghirls that walk out on that pitch have the character to beat (the)Rangers?

Elena Sadiku: “I believe in my players. I trust my players. And hopefully they feel that too. I’m very calm because I am so confident in the players, that they have the skills, they have the mindset, they have everything to make sure that we perform well as a team. So far it’s been good in terms of results so I am going to do the same thing on Saturday.”

Q: Elena, what will be your final message to your players on Saturday before they head out?

Elena Sadiku: “Oh I’ll take that on Saturday, I can’t tell you. I don’t want to motivate you now.”

Q: Have you been here before Elena, have you been as a spectator?

Elena Sadiku:  “Yes, twice. Scotland v Slovakia then I saw Celtic v Aberdeen.”

Q: “Did you need therapy like Brendan after Saturday’s game?”

Elena Sadiku: “Yeah, it was a fun game.”

Q: Is that the type of game you’d like this weekend with Celtic coming out on top again?

Elena Sadiku: “As long as we are good enough to win the game. I think there was excitement when we lost 3-2 in the League Cup and when it was 1-1 at Ibrox it got exciting, then when we won in the Excelsior stadium (2-1) that also got exciting at the end, so as long as we win it can be exciting all it wants. Obviously the focus is how we perform, still.”

Q: Any news on Amy Gallacher?

Elena Sadiku:  “News? She’s been training fully.”


CELTIC FC WOMEN v theRANGERS – WOMEN’S SCOTTISH CUP SEMI-FINAL, Hampden Park on Saturday 27 April. Kick-off 12.15pm – Tickets are priced at £10 for adults and just £5 for concessions and you can order directly from the Scottish FA here. You can use the App and get the tickets send directly to your phone.

Supporters will be accommodated inside the main stand area with the Celtic support at the traditional Celtic End of the South Stand as you would expect.

Next up in our Glasgow Derby Women’s Scottish Cup preview is Celtic FC Women captain Kelly Clark…


Here’s the Hearts manager explains why she thinks this will be Celtic’s year…

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds 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 editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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