Spartans are aiming to avoid a repeat of last season's opener

As Spartans prepare for their season opener against Rangers, manager Debbi McCulloch wants to avoid another shock defeat to start their campaign.
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In the 2022/23 season, the Edinburgh side got off to the worst possible start as they suffered a 7-0 defeat to Glasgow City. It was a shock to the system for the players and McCulloch right at the start of the new season. This Sunday, another daunting task faces Spartans as they host on Rangers who only missed out on last season’s SWPL title on the final day. However, after a good preseason under the squad’s belts, McCulloch is positive every one of her players will be up for the challenge come the weekend.

“With preseason there is a little bit less pressure on everyone, everyone enjoys it a wee bit more,” McCulloch told the Edinburgh Evening News. “However, we have tried to really challenge the players and make it a pressurised situation. What we don’t want to happen is what happened to us last season against Glasgow City in the opening league game where all of a sudden, we recognised that we are nowhere near the level that we need to be. We get a shock defeat and a high score line against us.

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“We are aware Rangers have changed their system, they have got new personnel too, and they got a good result against Levante. We understand the task facing us however, my job is to make sure every single one of those players is ready for that challenge. It’s going to be another eight months of ups and downs and challenges however, I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t enjoy it. I’m sure there will be plenty of surprises and great moments as well, highs and lows but we will be ready for both.”

Spartans lost 1-0 in their last clash against Rangers. Credit: Malcolm MackenzieSpartans lost 1-0 in their last clash against Rangers. Credit: Malcolm Mackenzie
Spartans lost 1-0 in their last clash against Rangers. Credit: Malcolm Mackenzie

At the end of their last campaign, Spartans hit a magnificent run of form which saw them take 28 points from a possible 30. The momentum from that spell could well play a major factor in the Edinburgh side’s start to the season with the club looking unstoppable at times. With the additions of Tegan Browning and Lauren Berman as well as a good preseason, signs look positive for Spartans. Talking before the opener, Robyn McCafferty insists that the camp remains confident going into Rangers.

“It’s been really good,” she added. “We have had a good couple of players come in and they have hit the ground running straight away. We are in a good place, there are things that we want to work on this week ahead of Sunday, but we are in a good place and it has been a good preseason.

“It gives us that bit of confidence and that’s what you are trying to build up through preseason. We are trying to build that confidence, especially when you have new players coming into the team with new systems and things like that. The Boroughmuir game was always a good way to end it and we are looking to take that confidence into Rangers.”