Hibernian Ladies aim to break City stranglehold

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HIBERNIAN LADIES midfielder Lucy Graham believes other clubs have to step up to the plate if they are to break Glasgow City’s monopoly in the Scottish game.

Champions City have dominated the Scottish game for a number of years as they have gone from strength to strength and amassed an impressive haul of silverware.

Their dominance has, however, made for an unhealthy lack of competition at the very top of the table, at a time when the Scottish Women’s Premier League seeks a sponsor and promotion to take it to the next level.

Tomorrow, Hibs face Rangers in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup at Ravenscraig Regional Centre, Motherwell (kick-off 12pm) and Graham believes the clubs need to shrug off their acceptance of second best.

She said: “Personally, I think having one team so dominant spoils the excitement as the others are settling for a runner-up spot at best rather than looking to become champions themselves.

“There is only one Champions League place available, which goes to the same team every year and lack of ambition from some clubs is very apparent as they accept City will be champions before a ball is kicked.

“Closing the gap on City won’t be easy because they have the obvious advantage of being able to offer players the opportunity to play in the Champions League, which is something the other can’t, but personally I think the key is to encourage youngsters into your squad, give them experience and look to develop their tools for the future.”

Five-times Scottish Cup winners Hibs have high hopes of claiming victory in the competition for a record-breaking sixth time, but before thoughts can turn to next month’s final they have to defeat Rangers.

Angie Hind’s side were the early-season shock troops and started the campaign in magnificent fashion.

However, they have failed to win a single league game since returning for the mid-season break.

Graham commented: “Rangers haven’t recorded the results they will feel they should have. However, they are a quality side and are very dangerous.

“Regardless of their recent results, it’s still their most successful season ever and we will have to play to our potential to progress.”

Meanwhile, holders Glasgow City will face Celtic in the other semi-final at the same venue immediately following the Hibs game.