By David Marshall
Domestic football returned for Scotland’s women’s teams as SWPL sides up and down the country played their first round of preseason fixtures.
The 2019 season is set to be one of the biggest ever with clubs investing more than ever into their women’s teams. There is more attention than ever on the women’s game thanks in no small part to the national side qualifying for the World Cup in France later this year.
Last year’s double cup winners Hibernian ran out winners against fellow Edinburgh outfit Spartans at Ainslie Park.
Rangers played Hearts at New Tinto Park in what was a highly competitive fixture. It’s been a big week for Hearts who announced that former Manchester City Technical director and Rangers Head Coach Kevin Murphy would be joining the club to oversee the club’s operations in the women’s game.
Rangers got off to a flying start and rushed into a two goal lead in the first fifteen minutes thanks to early goals from Clare Gemmell and Sarah Robertson. With Rangers being a division above Hearts, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Light Blues would go on to rack up the goals against the SWPL 2 side.
However, Hearts battled hard and fought back to level the game. Two goals in three minutes from Rachel Walkingshaw tied the game at 2-2 going into the last 20 minutes. Rangers managed to regain the lead and secured the win on the 77th minute through Terri Donnelly.
The game winner said that the team was happy to get back out there but they expect better from themselves.
Donnelly said: “Considering how high our training standards have been, I think we started the game well, however as it went on and changes where made we became disjointed and appeared to have lost focus.
“We knew our performance today just wasn’t good enough. Our expectations of each other individually and as team are really high and I am pretty sure we all felt we could have done a lot better today in terms of movement and organisation off the ball.”
Elsewhere, Kilmarnock ran out 2-0 winners against Queen’s Park. The Ayrshire side were very unlucky to miss out on promotion last term finishing second against an all conquering Motherwell side.
Veteran striker, Lisa Swanson, signed on permanently with Killie for 2019 after spending the second half of 2018 on loan at the Rugby Park side. She paid dividends for her side yesterday scoring the opener and setting up the second. She believes that the upcoming season is going to be very competitive but her side should be aiming for promotion.
Swanson said: “For every team, you need to aim to improve what you did in the previous season. For us, we finished second last season to improve on that we need to finish first and win promotion.
“It’s going to be a very competitive league and it’s probably going to be more competitive than the premier league. When you look at who is in the league, every team is improving, every team is getting stronger. But our aim is to win the league and get promotion”