Hearts goalkeeping ace challenges team-mates to replicate semi-final desire across remaining league fixtures
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Hearts were beaten 2-0 by Celtic in the tie at the Falkirk Stadium, but did very well to keep the full-time side goalless for 108 minutes before Charlie Wellings eventually broke the deadlock and added another two minutes later.
Eva Olid’s side sit second bottom of the SWPL 1 table with three games remaining. There’s no relegation this campaign but with a seven-point gap on 10th place Hamilton Accies, the Gorgie Girls, who finished bottom of the pile last term, would likely have beaten the drop regardless.
The players are now determined to finish with as high a points total as possible. They could conceivably climb as high as seventh place with meetings against the the two clubs directly ahead of them in the league table, Motherwell and Partick Thistle, to come. They also face Celtic once more before the end of the campaign.
“We just want to win any games as possible and see where we can finish in the league,” Parker-Smith told the Evening News after the semi-final. “We need to do our best every week and show the heart we had today. We need to show the desire to play like that every single week.
“The development has been really good across the campaign. It's been a mixed season. In a lot of the games we've done really well defensively. We're starting to come out of our shell a little bit more in terms of offering attacking options. We had a really good win the other week away to Aberdeen. It's about building on performances like that and seeing what we can do between now and the end of the season.
“Hopefully we can add to the squad this summer. There's more drive from the club in terms of putting in investment into the women's side. That's great for women's sport, for women's football, for women's football in Edinburgh and Scotland as a whole. Yeah, we're looking forward to that.”
Parker-Smith was awarded the player-of-the-match award for her heroics in the semi-final as she made four key saves from Wellings, two of which were hugely impressive, to keep the score at 0-0 for as long as possible. With their goalkeeper in form, Hearts would have fancied their chances of an upset if they’d managed to hold out another 12 minutes and take the game to penalties, but it wasn’t to be.
"We ran them really close. By the end we just had nothing else to give. We left it all out there. We can be really, really proud of our performance against a very good team, a professional team,” she said.
“We have girls that work full time, study or are still at school and then devote all their extra time into football. If think maybe, in terms of fitness and stuff like that, they had an advantage on us being full-time athletes.
“I made a few good saves. I'm proud of my performance – I'm proud of everyone's performance.”