Hearts Women manager Kevin Milne insists the Jambos are ready and prepared ahead of their maiden season in Scotland’s top flight.
The Gorgie girls have won plaudits and admirers in recent years as their swashbuckling brand of attacking football has seen them rise through the divisions to reach the Scottish Women’s Premier League.
“Pre-season has been really encouraging,” said Milne. “All of the games have been played to a high intensity and have challenged the girls.
“We’ve retained the squad from last season whilst strengthening and adding experience so the team is shaping up nicely. Girls are attracted to Hearts because of the way we play and we want them to enjoy playing football.
“Everyone has worked hard to get Hearts into the top flight and we want to stay there, so we are targeting seventh or eighth in the SWPL.”
The Jambos face Celtic tomorrow at Peffermill (kick-off 3pm) in the SWPL Cup, first round and Milne is looking to lay down a marker for the season ahead.
Milne said: “Being a newly promoted side it was always going to be a difficult tie no matter who we got.
“We will go into the game as underdogs, which suits us perfectly, because no one expects us to get anything from the game whilst Celtic have everything to lose.
“They have lost quite a few players during the close season and have promoted from their youth ranks.
“Celtic have always had a strong side, they’ve got a fantastic youth academy and have great players coming through the youth ranks.
“We are cautious but optimistic going into the game and if the girls can get a result it will raise eyebrows at what Hearts are doing.
“Win or lose we have a long journey ahead of us; we are all excited about the year ahead and looking forward to the challenges that it will bring.”
Meanwhile, Hutchison Vale open their campaign with a trip north to Station Park to face Forfar Farmington (kick-off 2pm).
Hutchie boss Andy Enwood said: “It’s an opportunity for us to reach the quarter-final and we are confident and ready.
“Forfar have a cracking set-up and their 3G pitch will allow us to play our passing game so it’s a good fixture to start with.”
Elsewhere, last season’s runners-up Hibs Ladies host Hamilton Academical at Albyn Park, Broxburn (kick-off 2pm) whilst Spartans travel west to take on Rangers at Garscube Sports Complex (kick-off 12pm).