This match took place in the warm mother’s day sun which must have affected the players as the early exchanges were of nothing worth commenting on. The only action in the first 20 minutes was when a spectator was escorted away from the crowd due to foul language directed at the players on the field.
The game didn’t get going until Celtic scored the first goal on 28 minutes when a lovely through ball from Megan Sneddon cut the Rangers defence wide open and found Fiona Brown who took the challenge from the diving Rangers keeper well and got up the quickest to cross the ball in for an unmarked Hayley Cunningham who tapped the ball into an empty net. Ramsey in the Rangers goal was hurt in the collision but after receiving some attention from the Rangers coaching staff, agreed to continue playing.
The goal made Rangers pick up the pace and they were unlucky not to score with their first chance of the game which came on 30 minutes. Catherine Hill took the ball down perfectly just outside the Celtic penalty box and did well to turn and shoot but was unlucky with the ball going just wide of the Celtic goal with the keeper beaten. Rangers got another chance a minute later when they got a free kick just inside the Celtic half, Hill took the free kick quickly and placed a great through ball which caught the Celtic defence off guard only for Cheryl Gallagher to shoot straight at the keeper when it would have being easier to take the ball round the diving keeper and tap in for an equaliser.
The Rangers pressure counted for nothing as Celtic against the run off play increased their lead on 32 minutes with a goal from Suzanne Grant. Some nice passing work found its way to Grant who was just outside the Rangers penalty box and she did well to turn and shoot a lovely daisy cutter into the bottom left hand corner past a clambering Ramsey in the Rangers goal.
Celtic nearly increased their lead two minutes later when a great cross from Gillian Sloey again found Suzanne Grant who volleyed the ball into the net, however the goal didn’t count as Grant was supposedly offside according to assistant referee Kirsty Millen.
Rangers started the brighter of the two teams in the second half and nearly got a goal back on 50 minutes from an in swinging corner which was headed just over from a Rangers attacker. Rangers continued to attack but were lacking a killer final pass and when they resorted to long balls the Celtic defence were happy to head the balls back up the pitch. The game was over as a contest when Celtic scored their third and final goal on 64 minutes when Cunningham received the ball a few yards outside the Rangers box and she deafly chipped a lovely ball over the helpless Ramsey and into the far bottom hand corner. It was a finish any professional footballer would have being happy to score.
After the third goal a number of substitutions were made by both sides and the game petered out into nothing more than a practise match. The game was certainly a million miles from your average SPL Old Firm match with both side’s players, fans and coaching staff behaving on the day and enjoying the lovely spring sunny weather.
After the match Rangers manager, John Joyce reflected on his team’s performance: “We were slack, very slack, parts of the game we were no bad but we showed naivety in parts of the game with the goals. The first one was poor decision-making, the second one very similar and the third one again leaves the cap, maybe a wee hint of offside. We showed a bit of naivety in the young girls, it’s a really young team.”
Robert Docherty, the Celtic manager was happy with the results but wants more from his players: “I think in terms of results, fantastic and it’s always a tough game against Rangers. They are organised and they work hard for each other, so we came here and won three nil in the first game of the league season is fantastic and excellent. In terms of performance, I think we can do much better and I expect more from the players.”
Referee: Morag Pirie
Assistant Referees: Kristy Millen, Jennifer Carberry
Attendance: 50 (estimate)