Spartans get title bid off to a flying start

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Spartans underlined their Scottish Women’s Premier League title ambitions with a resounding 11-1 victory over Falkirk at Ainslie Park on Sunday.

Debbi McCulloch’s side wasted no time in putting the Bairns to the sword and at the same time fired a warning shot across the bows of their title-chasing rivals.

After coming through their pre-season campaign undefeated, Spartans controlled their opening fixture of the new campaign from start to finish.

Trish McLaughlin (4), Lana Clelland (3), Sarah Ewens (2), Louise Young and Dianna Barry were all on target for Spartans whilst Emma Lyons netted the visitors’ consolation strike.

McCulloch was delighted to see the goals spread throughout her side and with the return from injury of influential striker Barry.

She commented: “I was really pleased with the performance and with a number of players getting on the scoresheet.

“To see so many different players getting the goals highlights just how much the girls perform as a team and are not reliant on any one individual. It was also fantastic to see Di back in action because she is a big player for us.”

Hibs Ladies bounced back from last weekend’s cup defeat from Celtic to take three points against Inverness City with a 2-0 victory at Albyn Park.

The Hibees dominated the match and had already carved out a number of opportunities before Caroline Weir’s fifth-minute strike beat goalkeeper Kim Jappy with the aid of a deflection.

They had to wait until just before the half-time interval to secure the points as youngster Kirsty Smith swept in a cross from close range for her first senior goal.

Manager Willie Kirk was pleased with his team’s efforts, commenting: “The performance was far better than we served up last weekend.

“Young Hannah Reid – deputising for injured keeper Shannon Lynn – was fantastic and looked very comfortable throughout.”

Hutchison Vale also made a winning start to the league campaign with a comfortable 5-2 victory away to Kilmarnock.

Michelle Russell netted her first hat-trick of the season, whilst Laura Gavin and Catherine Smart were also on target for Ian MacDonald’s side.