Hibs Women delighted to be back as start date is agreed

Hibernian Women boss Dean Gibson can't wait to get back doing the job he was brought in to do.

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 11:40 am
Hibernian’s Siobhan Hunter will be delighted to be training again and can now look forward the league starting on April 4.

The club's former under-23 manager, who stepped up to fill the void vacated by Grant Scott in January last year, has chalked up just eight games under his watch in 14 months due to Covid-19 restrictions.

However, there was a welcome boost to the women's game with the news SWPL 1 clubs are free to resume training immediately with league fixtures also set to commence on Sunday, April 4.

Clubs are "committed" to a full 21-game season.

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All eight clubs will have resumed training this week as they prepare to continue a league campaign in which seven rounds of matches have been played, with a revised fixture list to be announced on Friday.

There had been some doubt cast over the season's resumption due to a shortfall of £67,000 required to carry out weekly PCR testing, with the SFA only prepared to contribute a proportion of the £117,000 required. However, that issue has now been resolved.

Gibson said: "I don't know where the extra money came from but the clubs didn't have to pay for it in the end. We can now use that money to put towards next season, whether it be medical bills, new signings or something along those lines.

"We were all tested on Tuesday and all the results came back negative yesterday so it will be great to be back on the training pitch tonight. We've already got a friendly lined up for Sunday against Celtic and then we're playing Spartans next week.

"I've no concerns about the girls coming back fit, it's more a case of trying to get that match sharpness back as quickly as possible. They came back in the best shape I'd seen them after the last lockdown and that's maybe just because they've got more time on their hands to go out running. Our sports scientist has also been sending them sessions three or four times a week but it will good to be together again.

"I've been in the job over a year and we've only played eight games so hopefully we can get a proper run at it, finish this season off in June and then we can go and have a real go next season. With every side testing now there can be no excuses for the league to stop."

Vivienne MacLaren, chair of Scottish Women's Football, said: "We are delighted for all involved and those who support the game that there is an imminent return for SWPL 1 football.

"I would like to thank all the SWPL 1 clubs and our partners for their support. Our priority now is seeking a return for the whole of the girls' and women's game as soon as safely possible."

we can get a proper run at it, finish this season off in June and then we can go and have a real go next season. With every side testing now there can be no excuses for the league to stop."

Vivienne MacLaren, chair of Scottish Women's Football, said: "We are delighted for all involved and those who support the game that there is an imminent return for SWPL 1 football.”