Hibs Ladies manager Chris Roberts believes his side are ready to break Glasgow City’s dominance over women’s football in Scotland.
The Hibees face holders City tonight in the Scottish Women’s Premier League Cup final at Ainslie Park hoping to get their hands on the first silverware of the new season.
Three-time winners Hibs last won the competition back in 2011, with City having won it every year since and aiming for a record-breaking fourth success in the competition.
Eddie Wolecki Black’s City side have long enjoyed a stranglehold over the Scottish game but buoyed by sensational start to the new season and a 3-3 draw with the champions just a few weeks ago, Hibs go into the match with genuine optimism.
Roberts said: “After we drew with them last month, I came into the dressing room and there were a lot of disappointed faces which in a way tells you how far we have come.
“City will get our full respect because they have been the champions for so long and dominated the Scottish game for a number of years.
“However, previously we would’ve been delighted to take anything from them and it would’ve been a big deal because City rarely drop points, but this season is different. This season we expect to do well.
“We have an ambitious bunch of players who believe in each other and put pressure on themselves to win every game.”
Tonight’s encounter will be a re-run of last season’s final, a game that City won 3-0, but Roberts doesn’t believe stage fright will be an issue for his young side.
He said: “We’ve played each other so often in recent years and there is very little that we don’t know about each other so nothing will come as a surprise.
“I think too often teams can get caught up in worry about the opposition, but we won’t be doing that. We will focus on us and what we will do in the game.
“That said, we are under no illusions that it won’t be anything other than a tough match and City won’t be relinquishing their trophy without a fight.
“It’s an old cliché, but we must play the game and not the occasion. I want my girls to go and express themselves, play their normal game and enjoy playing on this platform.
“City will no doubt be the favourites because they have full-time players and full-time staff, but we are not there to make up the numbers.
“We’ve built up good momentum going into this match, are undefeated, scoring from all over the park and are confident we can win the trophy.”
Roberts has the luxury of a full squad to choose from tonight and having rotated his side at the weekend against Hutchison Vale, he has a difficult decision to make after a number of fringe players staked a late claim for a cup final place.
He said: “Choosing a team for tonight won’t be easy but regardless of who plays, I know everyone will get behind them because we have a great team spirit and everyone will have a part to play.”
Regardless of the outcome, the match will be history in the making after the decision to broadcast it live on the Scottish Women’s Premier League YouTube channel.
It’s the first time a Women’s League Cup final has been shown live and is intended to showcase the best of women’s football to a wider audience.
For those attending in person at Ainslie Park, the action gets underway at 7:30pm with admission costing adults £5 and concessions £2.