SWPL: Celtic hit Aberdeen for six in rout

Courtney Whyte heads home Georgie Rafferty's corner kick
Celtic's Courtney Whyte heads home Georgie Rafferty's corner kick

Celtic warmed-up for their double-header with Hibernian with a thumping 6-1 win over Aberdeen in the SWPL.

Ruesha Littlejohn and Sarah Ewens both grabbed doubles with Suzanne Mulvey and Courtney Whyte also adding goals.

That moves Celtic back up to third above Spartans, who lost 4-0 at home to second-placed Hibs.

Glasgow City stay top after a 3-0 win over Rangers, which helped Stirling University move up to fifth by beating Hamilton Academical 1-0.

Celtic now begin the biggest week of the season, and arguably their most important for years, with back-to-back clashes against Hibs.

A win on Tuesday is vital if they are to stay in touch with the top two in the Premier League title race, while a defeat would leave them seven points off the Hibees, and possibly eight behind Glasgow City should they beat Hamilton a day later.

Then, the two sides do battle again in the SWPL Cup final at Broadwood.

It was important for David Haley's side to go into those fixtures with three points, but the manner of the win showed they mean business.

They set their stall out early and within the opening seconds they could have scored when Mulvey was inches from connecting with a low cross.

When Sarah Crilly is on her game she is difficult to stop, and she proved far too hot to handle for the Aberdeen defence.

It was her cross after 15 minutes that landed perfectly for Littlejohn at the back post to head in the first goal.

Six minutes later and Mulvey latched onto a fine through-ball from Whyte to tap in a second.

Spartans v Hibs
Kirsty Smith (right) was back in the starting line-up as Hibs beat Spartans 4-0

Aberdeen goalkeeper Emily Mutch denied Littlejohn and Mulvey in quick succession as Celtic continued to dominate, but Aberdeen finished the half strongly and after Samantha MacDonald saw a shot tipped wide, the Dons won a penalty.

Hannah Stewart fired it down the middle to give the visitors some hope before the break.

However, soon after half-time it was 3-1. Littlejohn took her time applying the finish and was almost caught out by Mutch, but eventually moved the ball back onto her left foot and found the net from close range.

Ewens grabbed the first of her double when she slipped in behind the defence and coolly slotted past the goalkeeper, then Georgie Rafferty's corner was bulleted home by Whyte.

Right before the end Ewens added a sixth when she again beat the offside trap, lobbed the goalkeeper, and then tapped in.

Clinical Celtic

Celtic had struggled to find a clinical edge this season, and boss Haley was happy to see his side put that right.

"I said to the girls before they went out they needed a good performance to give us some confidence going into Tuesday night and Sunday," he told BBC Scotland. "They were excellent.

"Again it was something we spoke about. We need to start taking chances, we need to put teams to bed earlier.

"We seem to get one or two goals up and then it comes to the last 10 minutes and we're almost hanging on simply because we've not taken our chances. But today we did that so I'm really pleased.

"We managed to get people some game-time today that they needed and hopefully they'll recover well going into Tuesday."

Results:

SWPL 1

Celtic 6-1 Aberdeen

Rangers 0-3 Glasgow City

Spartans 0-4 Hibernian

Stirling University 1-0 Hamilton Academical

SWPL 2

Buchan 0-4 Forfar Farmington

East Fife 1-1 Motherwell

Edinburgh University Hutchison Vale 1-0 Hearts

Jeanfield Swifts 0-3 Glasgow Girls

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