Women’s football: Hibs Ladies set Champions League target after title hopes suffer huge blow

Hibs Ladies boss Grant Scott is hoping a place in the last 32 of the Champions League can make up for the disappointing defeat to Glasgow City.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 5th August 2019, 12:29 pm
Jamie Lee Napier's goal for Hibs Ladies against Glasgow City was not enough. Pic: SNS
Jamie Lee Napier's goal for Hibs Ladies against Glasgow City was not enough. Pic: SNS

The Capital outfit’s SWPL 1 title hopes look dead in the water following Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the reigning champions at Petershill Park – Kirsty Howat the matchwinner with a first-half brace. Jamie-Lee Napier did reduce the deficit for the visitors in the second half, who also had Siobhan Hunter sent off.

City now have an eight-point lead over the Hibees and have played a game less. Hibs, meanwhile, have slipped to third in the table, three points adrift of second-placed Celtic.

However, the current SWPL and Scottish Cup holders have jetted off to Slovenia for their Champions League qualifying Group 3 matches against FC Nike, Cardiff Met and hosts Pomurje. They play their first match on Tuesday against Georgian outfit Nike at Sportni Park in Beltinci.

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Scott is now hoping his players can brush off the weekend’s disappointment as they aim to reach the knock-out stages for the first time since 2016.

“We’re feeling positive about going out to Slovenia,” Scott said. “We’re in a good group so hopefully that gives us a decent chance of qualifying. We want to go there and win the group, that’s the aim. It will be tough with some unknown opponents, but we’re looking to bounce back from Sunday’s defeat and be positive about the opportunity that we’ve got.

“I was disappointed with our performance, particularly in the first half on Sunday. I thought we gave City far too much space and time to play. We didn’t really get locked on when we should have so we had an honest chat at half time. We tweaked the shape a little bit and we looked a bit more solid. Our final ball in behind the City defence was a bit forced at times but I think we did enough in the second to give them a bit of a fright but not enough to win the match.”

Goalscorer Napier is also hoping to make amends out in Slovenia.

The 19-year-old said: “It was good to get on the scoresheet but it was a really disappointing result. We need to pick up ourselves up for the Champions League. What’s done is done so we need to put the City game behind us and go and put in three good performances.”

Meanwhile, Spartans were held to a goalless draw with Motherwell at Ravenscraig.

Debbi McCulloch’s side carved out the better chances in North Lanarkshire but had to settle for a share of the spoils.

In SWPL 2, Hearts drew 1-1 with Kilmarnock at Oriam, with Lauren Hall on target for the Jambos. Hamilton now lead the way at the top on goal difference.

Elsewhere, Hutchison Vale were thrashed 12-0 by Glasgow Girls at Saughton.