SWPL: Celtic draw with holders Glasgow City in meeting of prospective title rivals

Glasgow City's Savannah Jordan holds off Celtic's Darcy McFarlane
Glasgow City's Savannah Jordan holds off Celtic's Darcy McFarlane in the 1-1 draw

Celtic showed they are up for a title fight after a 1-1 draw with Glasgow City at the K Park Training Academy.

Natalie Ross' close-range finish gave Celtic a deserved lead, but SWPL champions City fought back and an own goal gave them a share of the points.

That result allowed Hibernian to go top with a thumping 6-0 win over Aberdeen.

Rangers are still looking for their first point after a 5-3 loss to Stirling University, while Spartans beat Hamilton Accies 1-0.

Champion spirit

It was only the second game of the season, but it was a chance to see if Celtic have what it takes to be the ones to end City's 10-year stranglehold on the league championship.

In the early stages, they looked like they had spent the whole of pre-season waiting to get a crack at the champions.

City had to dig deep against a Celtic side who dominated the first half and they could have been more than a goal behind at the break.

Ross gave the hosts a 17th minute lead when she drifted in between the City defence to knock Sarah Ewens' cross past goalkeeper Lee Alexander.

Lauren Silver had a firm shot held by the goalkeeper in a rare City attack, but they were being pinned back for long spells and Jaclyn Poucel, one of two new American signings who joined Celtic on Friday, was unfortunate to miss the target with a header from Heather Richards' corner.

Ruesha Littlejohn's dipping shot was just over, but for all their pressure, Celtic were not testing the goalkeeper and Nicola Docherty hit the side netting for City just before the half-time whistle.

The champions were on the ropes, but it was a different City that emerged after the break.

Celtic goalkeeper Megan Cunningham pulled off the save of the match to tip Savannah Jordan's stabbed shot wide.

Leanne Ross' long free-kick was then pushed past the post and, from the resulting corner, City pulled level with the ball hitting off Celtic's Kerry Montgomery and into the net.

After controlling so much of the game, the hosts were now hanging on.

Keeva Keenan headed just wide with five minutes to go and, as the late onslaught continued, Megan Foley scraped the bar with a long-range effort.

Lizzie Arnot (left) of Hibernian Ladies
Lizzie Arnot (left) scored a hat-trick as Hibernian Ladies took top spot in the SWPL

'Not the result we wanted'

Glasgow City captain Leanne Ross said they were disappointed not to claim all three points as they relinquished top spot to Hibs.

"Towards the end of the game, we were coming more and more into it and we were looking more likely to get the winner, but we're disappointed in the performance today and the result," Ross told BBC Scotland.

"It's the result that counts in the end. We've not got the result that we wanted, so it's disappointing.

"We had to be more competitive, be more composed, keep the ball.

"We were giving the ball away under little or no pressure. It's just about trying to pass the ball and create chances for ourselves."

City head coach Scott Booth echoed his captain's comments and said it was a "frustrating" afternoon for his side.

"We improved the longer the game went on, but we know we can play much better," he said.

Results

SWPL 1

Celtic 1-1 Glasgow City

Hamilton Accies 0-1 Spartans

Hibernian 6-0 Aberdeen

Stirling University 5-3 Rangers

SWPL 2

Buchan 2-1 Edinburgh University Hutchison Vale

East Fife 0-1 Hearts

Glasgow Girls 2-1 Motherwell

Jeanfield Swifts 1-2 Forfar Farmington

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