HIBERNIAN LADIES coach Willie Kirk insists his side’s Scottish Cup hopes could depend on wrapping up second place in the Scottish Women’s Premier League this weekend.
The Hibees looked home and dry in their bid to claim a runners-up slot in the league. However, back-to-back defeats, coupled with victories for Spartans, have given the Ainslie Park side and outside chance of overtaking them.
Hibs are three points ahead of their city rivals ahead of tomorrow’s penultimate match with Celtic at Ravenscraig, Motherwell (kick-off 12pm) and know, given their vastly superior goal difference, that equalling or bettering Spartans’ score against champions Glasgow City would see them secure second place.
Kirk admits he hopes to rest some of his squad ahead of the Scottish Cup final, but they have to do the business in the league first.
He said: “Games against Celtic are always very tightly fought contests and we know we are in for a difficult 90 minutes.
“Their strengths are at the back, whilst Julie Fleeting has been in terrific form at the other end of the field. However, we have a very good recent record against Celtic and want to extend our unbeaten run against them.
“We want to tie up second place this weekend as we would want to avoid going into the final league game still needing to take something.
“We would rather have the luxury of being able to make changes with the Scottish Cup in mind so from that point of view it is vital we take something tomorrow.”
Spartans can still catch Hibs, however, manager Debbi McCulloch insists that to do so they must take something from their game against champions Glasgow City at Ainslie Park (kick-off 1pm) tomorrow.
She said: “We simply must take something from the game, which will not be an easy thing to do, but we have played them four times already this season and we know their strengths and weaknesses very well.
“There is a real sense of togetherness and belief in the squad just now and everyone is determined to sign off our home campaign in style.”
Meanwhile, Hutchison Vale host fellow strugglers Kilwinning at Saughton Enclosure (kick-off 2pm) hoping to achieve three points that will secure their league safety.