SWPL Cup: Hibs boss Dean Gibson says Kilmarnock tie is 'biggest game of our season'; Spartans aiming to shock Celtic

Hibs boss Dean Gibson has described his team’s SWPL Cup quarter-final against Kilmarnock as the “biggest game of our season”.

Then Edinburgh side moved up to fifth in SWPL1 after a midweek 3-1 victory away to Aberdeen and follows an improvement in performances following a shaky start to the season.

However, Gibson believes Sunday’s trip to Ayrshire and the opportunity to book a semi-final place is more important. “Kilmarnock is the biggest game of our season,” He told HibsTV. “We are going into that playing a team that is not in our division, but we will take it seriously.

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“We know if we don’t turn up Kilmarnock are going to be up for this game. It’s their cup final it’s our cup final. You only get one chance in the cup. So, we will go into that game confident and ready.”

Elsewhere, Spartans are hoping to pull off a cup shock against Celtic. Debbi McCulloch’s team are unbeaten in their previous four games and have no injury problems, but lost 4-0 the last time they face Celtic and know how difficult it is against full-time opponents.

Manager Debbi McCulloch, however, alludes to the magic of the cup when discussing her team’s chances. She told Edinburgh Evening News. “We know they are a very good team, and we will have to be at our very best to get a result, but it’s a cup game so anything can happen.

“We’ve got a strong bunch of players and very little injury worries to be concerned about. We have a strong squad to be able to select from which gives us the opportunity to look at different things, different options to our starting 11. Everyone is looking forward to the game and feeling positive.”

McCulloch has been impressed by new signing Julianne Ross, who made her first start last weekend, and believes the American defender could be a key player on Sunday. She added: “From what I’ve seen so far, we have been really impressed. Distribution is excellent, wants to play balls into the midfield, off the ball is physical and communicates well with the rest of the players. If she’s selected, we expected her to have a positive influence on the game and hopefully limit any chance Celtic have.”

Dean Gibson acknowledges that his team cannot underestimate Kilmarnock