Hibs Ladies boss hopes Scotland stars return refreshed for opener

Joelle MurrayJoelle Murray
Joelle Murray
Hibs Ladies boss Chris Roberts is hoping his international stars can take their early season form into this weekend's SWPL 1 opener against Rangers.

The Hibees kick-off their league campaign at New Tinto Park aiming to put down a marker and build on last year’s success as they won both League and Scottish Cups. The Capital side did, however, have to settle for second place behind league champions Glasgow City.

Roberts has had to contend with a depleted squad at training this week with no fewer than eight bodies away on international duty with the national team. Captain Joelle Murray, Kirsty Smith, Lizzie Arnot and Rachel McLauchlan were in Cyprus Cup action whilst Amy Gallacher, Cailin Michie, Chelsea Cornet and Ellis Notley were away with the Scotland Under-19s in La Manga.

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And, despite their rigorous schedule, Roberts is counting on his big-game players to shine in Glasgow tomorrow.

“It’s great for these girls to go and play for their country,” he said. “Obviously with the Euros coming up this year I want the girls to have every opportunity to play so it’s a big incentive to be on form at the start of the season.

“They want to do well all the time so I’m hoping they take that experience of playing some top countries and implement that domestically, that big-game experience. But we’re looking forward to getting started too. We’ve had these players away this week so it’s important we manage them carefully as it’s been quite an exhausting week. But, that’s why the rest of the squad is so important.

Rangers seemed to have stepped it right up over pre-season having beaten Glasgow City so you have to take a note of that. We expect a really tough game so we’re going to have to be at our best.

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“I really think the league is becoming more competitive. Points are going to be dropped make no mistake about it. Consistency is going to be key as well as winning the big games. We want to win trophies again this year and make a statement in all three competitions.”

Elsewhere in SWPL 1, Spartans travel north to face Aberdeen whilst in SWPL 2, Hearts welcome Buchan Ladies to King’s Park in Dalkeith and Edinburgh University Hutchison Vale host Glasgow Girls at East Peffermill.