Hibs Ladies boss Chris Roberts says the recent return of club captain Joelle Murray has been like a new signing to the SWPL 1 Capital outfit.
The Scotland internationalist had been limited to just 30 minutes in the league this season due to a stress response tibia fracture she suffered whilst playing for her country at the Cyprus Cup.
However, the 30-year-old was restored to the starting line-up in Sunday’s 2-0 win over Stirling University at Ainslie Park and marked her return with the opening goal of the afternoon, heading home an Emma Brownlie corner in the 67th minute. Rachel McLauchlan doubled the Hibees’ lead with a second four minutes from time.
“Joelle was absolutely fantastic on Sunday,” said Roberts, who takes his team up the M9 tomorrow night for the return fixture with the students. “She’s a natural leader, solid defender and moves the ball forward well and, to cap it off with the first goal, I couldn’t be more pleased for her.
“Stirling are a decent team and really good defensively. They had their full squad on Sunday so I definitely feel they are one of the top four teams in the country. We were happy to get the win and I’m expecting it to be even tougher tomorrow night when we go to their patch. It’s never ideal having back-to-back games against the same team but we’ve had that already this season against Celtic and Glasgow City. We’ve got the chance to reclaim top spot, though, so we need to make it count.”
Elsewhere, Spartans Women were beaten 5-0 by league leaders and champions Glasgow City whilst, in SWPL 2, Hearts went down 1-0 at home to Jeanfield Swifts but Edinburgh University Hutchison Vale triumphed 3-0 over Buchan at Peffermill – Anna Murray, Beth Macleod and Ashley Fish all on target for Tom Connor’s side.