Alexa Coyle keen for Hibs to learn lessons quickly ahead of SWPL Cup semi-final
Hibs Women striker Alexa Coyle insists her team’s focus has already turned to Sunday’s SWPL Cup semi-final showdown against Celtic, despite Sunday’s disappointing defeat by Glasgow City in Livingston.
Priscila Chinchilla scored a somewhat fortuitous opener midway through the first half, with Niamh Farrelly heading a second and substitute Lauren Davidson netting a third at the death on Sunday, but Coyle insists she and her team-mates can learn from the loss to Grant Scott’s side and start making amends at Forthbank this weekend.
"It’s obviously disappointing, we never want to drop points and go into every game wanting to get the three points,” said the American.
"We believe very strongly that we’re a top team in this league. So yes, disappointing, but also a game we can learn from.”
Coyle had perhaps Hibs’ best chance of the game, when her fierce effort on the half-hour mark was deflected just over Lee Alexander’s bar, but the Montana native was unable to add to her seven goals so far this season and even though Glasgow City scored three times without reply, she insisted that the result didn’t tell the full story.
“We’re going to take what we can learn from this defeat and then get back to work for a big semi-final game next weekend,” she added.
"I don’t think the scoreline reflected most of the game. I think it was back and forth, we created some chances, and it was a competitive match.
"Unfortunately three goals went their way and we couldn’t put any of our chances away. I don’t think 3-0 totally reflected what the game was like but the result is what it is and I think we have to learn from it and use it as motivation when we face Celtic next Sunday.”
Hibs Women were training hard in the lead-up to the SWPL meeting with Glasgow City while the men’s first team and under-18s had training cancelled following a Covid-19 outbreak that forced the postponement of two Scottish Premiership fixtures, with a total of 22 players and staff affected in one way or another.
It might have been a significant distraction for Dean Gibson's side but Coyle insists the squad was unfazed by the events.
"I think something great about this team is that we keep our focus on what we need to. Not a whole lot changed for us, maybe a little bit, but nothing that really distracted us.
"Our preparation was the same and we managed to just stay focused.”
With the cup semi-final against Celtic on the horizon, there is little time for Hibs Women to dwell on their defeat at the Tony Macaroni Arena on Sunday. The winners of that tie will face either Spartans or Glasgow City, so if results go the right way there is a chance for revenge for the Hibees.
Coyle is likely to lead the line once again for Hibs at Forthbank and admits the last-four clash is an ideal follow-up.
"I think such a big game will help us move on. Every good player and every good team learns from games like this and then uses what they’ve learned in the next game anyway but the fact we have such a big game coming up gives us the perfect chance to re-focus our energy, and use our disappointment and learnings as motivation to play well.”
Gibson wasn’t interested in looking for excuses after his side’s defeat as he echoed Coyle’s sentiments about Sunday's semi-final.
"Our scheduled stayed exactly the same despite the Covid-19 outbreak. We’ve been lucky enough that it has not really impacted us, so there's no excuses at all. We trained as normal, and I can only put the defeat down to an off-day,” he added.
"I can’t fault the players normally, and you’re going to have off-days. Unfortunately for us, it’s come against one of the better sides in the league.
"When you suffer a defeat and the next one is a normal, run-of-the-mill league game you obviously look to pick yourself up but it’s impossible not to pick yourself up for a game like this.
"The players will be disappointed, I'm disappointed, but we need to get over it and start looking forward to Celtic. Naturally there should be that little bit of excitement; it is a semi-final and we’ve got a chance to reach a final and retain the cup that we have held since 2016, so it has an extra incentive to it.
"We’ll hurt for a bit but Sunday is the perfect game to lift our spirits.”
Gibson is also keen to build on the positives that he saw in Sunday’s defeat. He continued: “We started the game very well. In the first five minutes I thought we were going to go and take it to Glasgow City then we hit a wee bump in the road and they scored that goal, but I thought after that that we took control for about 15 minutes just before half-time.
"At half-time we felt we were starting to feel our way into the game, we’re starting to play, we’re starting to look a little bit dangerous, but then it just sort of zapped out of us in the second half.
"We know when we play that we’re a good side and even when we don’t play we’re normally a very hard team to beat. We’re a team of hard workers.
"We lost that a bit against Glasgow City but I wouldn’t say there was much in the game when the second goal went in.
"In terms of positives, our reaction to losing the first goal was good, and we need to take that 15-minute spell and try to do that for a prolonged period against Celtic.”