Fiona McIntyre, the Scottish Women’s Premier League Managing Director, believes this season has had a “very promising start”. Last term saw record breaking battle between Glasgow City, Celtic and Rangers for title that went right down to the final day.
This opening weekend witnessed record attendances with 2,000 fans taking in games at Easter Road, Ibrox and Broadwood Stadium.
Hibernian v Heart of Midlothian
At Easter Road in Edinburgh, 8,234 fans tuned into Hibs v Hearts clash; up 30% from last year. Easter Road also witnessed an outstanding turnout for Edinburgh derbie when 8,066 watched Hibs take on Hearts rivals Hibernian.
Both teams shared points in an intense Edinburgh derby that ended 0-0, drawing record crowds. Montrose made its mark as an early challenger against Celtic by drawing an audience of 459 people for its home fixture against them – an attendance figure not seen since joining top level competition earlier in 2013.
SWPL managing director Fiona McIntyre was thrilled by the numbers from its inaugural weekend. She credits this success to a strong “one club mentality” among women’s teams that is encouraging support for these fixtures, with attendances at Tynecastle and Easter Road likely reaching new heights as season progresses – two venues which regularly host SWPL matches.
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Glasgow City v Spartans
Glasgow City Women will aim to start their season off right against Spartans. Both clubs have enjoyed an intense non-league rivalry which could become even stronger now they compete in the same league.
On 31 minutes, City took the lead when Pauline Hamill and Leanne Crichton collaborated in a move which resulted in Crichton lofting her shot over Spartans goalkeeper Marie Hourihan. City continued dominating during the second half, and were duly rewarded when Grant latched onto a pass from Hayley Lauder before shooting into the roof of the net for two goals up.
Spartans are currently in relegation contention but manager Sandy Clark is hopeful a packed crowd at Cliftonhill can give his side an edge and earn them a place back in the SPFL for next term. Their last three matches have gone unbeaten, giving them an excellent chance of climbing out of the bottom three and facing either Lowland League champions Berwick Rangers or East of Scotland League runners-up Gartcairn in a play-off final matchup if successful.
Celtic v Hibs
As international play draws to a close, Celtic will host Hibernian in the SWPL on Tuesday evening to finish out this international break. Ange Postecoglou’s side are currently top of the table after starting out strong this season and could extend their advantage against Hibees.
Home side Leeds United have an opportunity to keep their top-four hopes alive after falling four points behind Hearts last weekend. Lee Johnson’s side were left demoralised following their defeat against Rangers; therefore they will need a win against champions Leicester.
SWPL managing director Fiona McIntyre predicts this weekend will mark the first time it ever exceeds 100,000 spectators at the beginning of a season, setting an important new milestone in attendance and encouraging more people to attend games. BBC Scotland will broadcast live coverage for those located within Scotland or Ireland while Celtic TV offers global subscription services that allow non-UK and Irish residents to tune in live streaming of all games played within its territory.
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Rangers v Glasgow Women
Three months on from Leanne Ross’ late winner which took away their Scottish Women’s Premier League crown, Rangers take on Glasgow City for their inaugural derby of the season at Ibrox Stadium on August 4. Managers Jo Potter and Fran Alonso both look forward to this contest – as success for Rangers would mean winning it there for the first time ever in Ibrox history.
Early on in the game was evenly contested with neither side creating many chances. After 25 minutes though, Rangers made an impactful move as Rio Hardy burst clear down the left flank before being tackled as she attempted to cut inside for an attacking play and was tackled to the ground as she cut in.
City were next to threaten as Priscilla Chinchilla beat the offside trap and fired low shots which were well parried by goalkeeper Chloe Logan. Dundee United were also in contention, with Tammy Harkin coming close with an effort that hit the post before Rangers held onto an advantage going into halftime.