Hibs boss "surprised" at manner of defeat at Celtic Park, but backs his team to respond in cup quarter final

Head coach Dean Gibson admitted his Hibs side simply didn’t turn up on the big stage, but has backed the team to respond in next week’s Scottish Cup quarter final.

Mengyu Shen and Shannon Leishman compete for the ball in the SWPL clash at Celtic Park between Celtic and Hibs. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Mengyu Shen and Shannon Leishman compete for the ball in the SWPL clash at Celtic Park between Celtic and Hibs. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

It was a tough afternoon for Gibson’s side in SWPL1, as Fran Alonso’s clinical Hoops ran out 4-0 victors in front of a vocal Celtic support that turned out to support the women’s side for the first time at Celtic Park.

Early strikes from Clarissa Larisey (2) and Olivia Chance (25) gave Hibs a mountain to climb and, despite seeing plenty of the ball in the second period, they were undone by a further two strikes from Jodie Bartle (52) and Chloe Warrington (84).

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The result means Hibs remain fourth in the Scottish Women’s Premier League, though they trail third place Celtic by 16 points.

And Gibson admitted it was a result he wasn’t expecting.

“I don't know if the early goal spooked us a little bit, and we maybe froze on the big occasion” he said.

"The team we've had for the majority of the season and over these last three games have been really dominant on the ball and that deserted us today.

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"We've played Celtic a lot this season and its always been tight - so yeah, that performance took me by surprise today.

"I thought we did okay in possession in the second half - but it's easy to do that at 2-0 down, it's hard to do that a 0-0 and that is where games are won and lost.”

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However, with a frank admission that the side is out of the running for Champions League qualification now, he is backing his side to respond this coming Friday against Partick Thistle at Petershill Park.

"It's the biggest game of the season on Friday.

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"The Scottish Cup is what we have left to play for. So we can't feel sorry for ourselves, we need to go again and make sure we are in the hat for the next round come Saturday morning.

"We've lost games like this by the odd goal before - and reacted well to that. I think we'll be okay, we've always reacted well and I can't see that changing.”