Spartans boss Debbi McCulloch believes that her team have “matured” over recent months
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Victories over Dundee United and Aberdeen before the international break have helped the Edinburgh side to get off to the best possible start in post-split games. With both of these games being determined in the last 15 minutes, McCulloch believes that her squad have developed a maturity over the course of the season to be able to turn their fortune late on.
“It shows several things,” she told the Edinburgh Evening News. “It shows great resilience and that we are not panicking under pressure. It shows that our defence are giving us a really strong platform to be able to build on. In both games, we have had several chances where it could have probably been done and dusted earlier but football is a 90 minutes game. If you score within 90 minutes you give yourself a good opportunity to win the game.
“It shows a maturity in our squad. Maybe six or eight months ago we might have panicked slightly in those situations and been chasing the game, not stuck to the game plan and lost a bit of structure. However, it shows that the players have learnt from those situations and pushed on. If you become a team that can score between 75-90 minutes it can become a really dangerous weapon.”
This Sunday, Spartans are set to host Motherwell who currently sit seventh, one place above them in the table. Both teams narrowly missed out on the top six last month as Partick Thistle crossed the line on the final pre-split fixture. However, McCulloch doesn’t see the club’s current league situation as a detriment as she hopes to leapfrog their upcoming opponents this weekend.
“We can talk about top six, bottom six for me, there is a top eight”, she explained. “That’s no disrespect to Aberdeen, Hamilton, Glasgow Women and Dundee United. Both ourselves and Motherwell did miss out narrowly to the top six. As much as people might see that as a failure, for us so far it has been a really positive experience in terms of us preparing for next season, ensuring we are getting as many points and meeting we are meeting individual targets. Instead of being in a situation where you are getting heavy defeats every single weekend and injuries due to the load.
“That isn’t realistic for some teams to be able to compete with. We probably recognise that this is a beneficial thing for us. That isn’t us trying to spin anything it is just a reality. It would have been fantastic for us to be in the top six and playing those teams every single week, that’s where we want to be. However, we also recognise that that pressure might have been quite detrimental to our team if we are honest.
“We will obviously be expecting a hugely competitive game. Our last games we have drawn to Motherwell I don’t know how many times, I have lost count to be honest. We will certainly be looking to try and achieve the three points.”