Fran and the Ghirls out to achieve Back2Back Scottish Cup wins

Fran and the Ghirls are out to achieve Back2Back Scottish Cup wins today as the most intense women’s season in Scottish football history reaches its conclusion.  The Ghirls take on Rangers at Hampden Park in today’s Scottish Cup final aiming to retain the trophy they won for the first time last season after a thrilling game against Glasgow City.  Izzy Atkinson, now at West Ham, emerged as the hero that day as her extra-time goal sealed a famous 3-2 win for the Celts.

Following the heartache of seeing the league title being cruelly snatched away in the dying seconds of last weekend’s games, Celtic will need to lift themselves to go again in today’s showpiece event.

Going into last weekend’s final round of league fixtures Celtic needed to win their game against Hearts and hope that today’s opponents, Rangers, could take at least one point from their game with Glasgow City.  Goals from Caitlin Hayes and Natasha Flint saw Celtic complete their side of the bargain, however, a goal in the final seconds for Glasgow City at Ibrox curtailed the Celtic Park celebrations.

A highly emotional Fran Alonso spoke exclusively to ACSOM in the aftermath of the game and was effusive in his praise of his players.  The Spanish coach stated his belief that not only did his side deserve to win the title, the fans deserved it too after turning out in incredible numbers throughout the season.

One week on from that particular disappointment, Fran and the Ghirls are ready to put it all behind them as they focus on the task in hand of winning the Cup.

“We have another opportunity to lift silverware,” Fran told CelticTV, “I am delighted it is just one week later because we get the chance to play in another final and bring a trophy back to Paradise. We are the current holders, and we are desperate to keep this trophy where it belongs!”

Road to Hampden

Celtic’s journey to the final began in January with a 9-0 demolition job on Falkirk at the Falkirk Stadium.  Amy Gallacher helped herself to a hat trick as the Ghirls ran riot and eased their way into a 5th round clash with Boroughmuir Thistle at Meadowbank.  Celtic navigated the tie with minimal fuss, recording a solid 5-0 success.

The Ghirls returned to Edinburgh for the quarter-final tie against Hearts at the Oriam sports centre.  For the second game running Celtic hit 5 past their opponents, however, Monica Forsyth became the first – and so far only – player to breach the Celtic defence as the Hoops won 5-1.

After a straight-forward run to the semi-final, Celtic faced their sternest test yet against Glasgow City.  Celtic had inflicted City’s first league defeat of the season on them the previous week and, with their local rivals out for revenge, pushed Celtic all the way.  A 19th-minute goal from Natasha Flint and some strong defensive performances were enough to see Celtic through and book a place in today’s final.

Previous against today’s opponents

At any level of the game, Celtic versus Rangers is a potential powder keg fixture and, as we witnessed back in March, has the potential to boil over.

On that occasion, Rangers coach Craig McPherson raced onto the pitch to head-butt Fran Alonso in the aftermath of a late Caitlin Hayes leveller in a decisive league encounter. An action that has earned McPherson, still employed by Rangers, no more than a rap on the knuckles from the Scottish football authorities.

While those around them in blue have been losing their heads, Fran and the Ghirls have maintained their discipline and displayed a positive and passionate approach to their games.  Hayes late goal in the aforementioned fixture from March is a testament to the ‘We Never Stop’ mantra that resonates throughout Celtic Football Club.

Hayes herself has developed a great habit of scoring against Rangers and has 3 goals against today’s opponents already this season.  Always a threat at set plays and dangerous when pushed into a more advanced role, the defender will be looking to get her name on the scoresheet again this afternoon.

“At the moment, we know it’s (the Scottish Cup) in our trophy room and that is where we want it to stay.” Hayes told CelticTV“We all can’t wait to play at Hampden Park again and hopefully have a big crowd of green and white there to support us.”

Another bumper Celtic support is expected at Hampden today to cheer the Ghirls on to a successful end to the season.  Several of the ACSOM team will be in attendance again so please say ‘hello’ if you see them, but more importantly, give your backing to the Ghirls for the full game.

ACSOM are proud patrons of the women’s team, and wish them all the very best in today’s Scottish Cup final as the Ghirls go for Back2Back wins.

Come on you Ghirls in green!!

Kevin McCluskie

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