Hearts Ladies relegated to second tier

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Hearts Ladies will return to the second tier of Scottish football after their brave fight for survival was finally ended following a 5-2 defeat by Forfar Farmington.

It was always going to be a massive task for the Jambos to consolidate their position in the top flight following promotion last season with the women’s game preparing to restructure the leagues.

On any other year Hearts’ accumulated points total would have secured safety. However, this season it wasn’t enough as a third of the Scottish Women’s Premier League drop into the newly created SWPL 2.

Nevertheless, Jambos boss Grant Scott remains proud of his side, saying: “Naturally it’s very disappointing however it gives us a bit of closure as it’s been hanging over us for a few weeks.

“Forfar are the in-form team just now and they deserved to win because they were clinical with the chances they got.

“The league table doesn’t lie however, I felt we restored some pride; the girls showed terrific character and at times we played some magnificent stuff.

“I’m very proud of my team and I couldn’t have asked for more from them. We will come back stronger from this experience.”

Elsewhere, Sarah Ewens grabbed a hat-trick in Spartans’ eye-catching 4-0 victory over Aberdeen in the north east.

“We’ve been playing well recently but just not getting the breaks, so I always felt a result like this was coming just around the corner,” said manager Debbi McCulloch.

“We changed things about a bit and the girls all adapted well. Two quick goals settled us and the game-plan worked perfectly with us hitting them on the counter-attack right, left and centre.

“We took our chances superbly and were solid in defence. All-in-all it was a great performance on the road from every player.”

Meanwhile, Hibs’ hopes of ending Glasgow City’s dominance of the women’s game were extinguished by a 2-0 defeat at home against the league leaders.

Hayley Lauder and Erin Cuthbert scored the goals as City all but clinched their ninth successive title.

Hibs boss Chris Roberts said: “We hit the crossbar and had a few other chances but just didn’t get the breaks we needed. On another day they go in and it’s a different game.”

Hutchison Vale ended a run of five games without a win when they thumped Hamilton Academical 5-1 at Saughton Enclosure.