Celtic Women begin their post split title push with a Glasgow Derby against Rangers on Monday evening looking to maintain the Derby bragging rights following last month’s 3-0 victory over Rangers at The Excelsior.
Celtic are currently unbeaten against their city rivals this term having drawn 0-0 in the away fixture before the aforementioned 3-0 win in the last meeting of the sides. A double of headed goals from Caitlin Hayes and a sweet left foot strike from Amy Gallagher were enough to see Fran Alonso’s Ghirls claim the three points on that occasion.
The Hoops head into Monday’s game, the first of the post-split fixtures, in second place 9-points behind league leaders Glasgow City who beat Hibs 2-0 on Saturday. A Celtic victory would reduce the deficit down to 6-points while also extending their lead over Rangers to 4 points.
HIGH ON CONFIDENCE
American midfielder Taylor Otto had the pre-game press conference duties this week and spoke of the confidence in the squad ahead of the game.
“We have a lot of confidence going in. I think the previous game (against them) gives us confidence and something to build off of. Rangers are a great team so we respect that. We want to make sure that we prepare in every way possible and build off of the last game and hopefully have a good result.”
“The last game showed our quality and showed our strengths and showed how deep our squad is. Every time we step on to the field against Rangers it’s going to be a fight. We respect them but I also have so much confidence in our team.”
Despite the resounding nature of Celtic’s win in the last meeting of the sides, the xG data available on Wyscout for both previous meetings this season suggests that Rangers will provide stiff opposition on Monday.
The team from the blue side of Glasgow have actually bettered Celtic’s xG on both occasions, but the Hoops ruthlessness in front of goal has been the difference between the sides.
TITLE PUSH STARTS NOW
Manager Fran Alonso echoed Otto’s view that the team is approaching the game full of confidence, citing the last meeting of the sides as the basis for their belief.
“Obviously it was a very good result. There was a great fighting spirit to keep a clean sheet, even in the times we didn’t have as much control of the game. I was so proud of the performance of the players. The players that started did fantastic, and the players that came from the bench, again, did fantastic, helping us keep a clean sheet that gave us a lot of belief.
“We know that against Rangers it’s a very difficult game. For me, it’s one of the most difficult games, if not the most difficult that we have left.”
The Ghirls have 10 games left to play this season, including 4 derbies against Rangers and Glasgow City. Fran Alonso is well aware that his side can ill afford to lose further ground at the top of the table and will leave no stone unturned as the side goes in search of another valuable 3 points at Broadwood.
The game is being screened live on Sky Sports, something that can only serve to increase the level of coverage that the women’s game in Scotland receives.
However, as Taylor Otto said in her press conference, the team is at their best when they have the fans out in numbers and supporting them from the stands.
If you can make it along, your support for the Ghirls in this massive game would be much appreciated.
ACSOM are proud patrons of the women’s team, and wish them all the best on Sunday as they consider their pursuit of a history making season.