Who handled occasion best? Talking points from dramatic Edinburgh derby

Hibs celebrate scoring their second of the day. Credit: Malcolm MackenzieHibs celebrate scoring their second of the day. Credit: Malcolm Mackenzie
Hibs celebrate scoring their second of the day. Credit: Malcolm Mackenzie

Play the game, not the occasion. Keep your head when all about are losing theirs. And never underestimate the value of an out-and-out goal scorer.

There was plenty of material to chew over in the aftermath of yesterday’s Edinburgh derby at Easter Road, with Hibs taking the three SWPL points and the bragging rights on the day.

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So, what did we learn from a contest that ended with Grant Scott’s men celebrating in front of the home fans?

Hibs adapted best to the big stage

Hearts boss Eva Olid attributed her team’s slow start, at least in part, to the extra nerves generated by playing at such a big stadium.

Players on both sides knew there was something different, a break from the normal routine, about this game. And not just because the winners would take home the Capital Cup.

At some point in their playing careers, all female footballers must feel as if they’re representing not just themselves, their families, their clubs or even their countries, but the entire sport of women’s football. That can be a burden.

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Handed the chance to impress at one of the most famous grounds in Scotland, Hibs – a home team who usually play their games at nearby Meadowbank Stadium – took the opportunity.

Hearts, who play their home fixtures at a university pitch with seating for about 130 fans, simply looked out of sorts from the off.

Jorian Baucom is proving one heck of a signing

The American striker’s double took her SWPL tally to ten in her debut season. And the importance of her goals in this game cannot be overstated.

The former North Carolina Courage centre forward is plenty brave enough to cope with the rigours of the Scottish game; there aren’t many central defenders who can bounce her off the ball, once she gets set.

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Yet she was struggling to make an impact on Hearts in a first half short on goalmouth action in either box.

Credit the 27-year-old for sticking to her task, then. And for being in the right place at the right time to break the deadlock, burying the rebound after Charlotte Parker-Smith spilled Rosie Livingstone’s strike.

The fact that Baucom didn’t have to jump to score her second, the forward simply planting her feet to send a looping header into the far corner, will have annoyed Ovid. But it was a really clever finish – possibly the only way she could score from the situation.

Katie Lockwood has a bit of everything

Despite being on the end of some pantomime booing at Easter Road, former Hibs player Lockwood – who crossed the great divide during a turbulent summer at East Mains – undoubtedly impressed most observers on a tough day for the girls in maroon.

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While skipper Ciara Grant covered a lot of ground, the visitors’ playmaker was given very little time and space to influence the game with ball at feet.

Lockwood scored one, was only denied a dramatic equaliser deep into injury time by the excellence of Hibs goalie Katie Fraine – and generally caught they eye with her ability to protect and use the ball.

The women’s game still feels undervalued – and undersold

Free tickets, endless promotions on social media, genuinely well-intentioned attempts to push the fixture through traditional outlets … and still the crowd maxed out at 5365.

Now, that is a pretty remarkable figure for a game involving two teams who – last season’s record-breaking 8000-plus attendance notwithstanding – wouldn’t normally expect to generate anything like those numbers.

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Even as attendances grow at a steady rate across the SWPL, however, they always seem to be playing catch-up. Relying on giveaways to boost numbers. Focusing on these one-off occasions at ‘proper’ grounds.

It’s actually a brilliant product. It just needs to be packaged and sold more effectively than at present.

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