The SWPL1 season kicks off in two weeks time (5 September) and we have a preview special ahead of the big kick-off with focus on four of the ten clubs taking part in the extended league.
First up is returning guest Emma Hunter, Manager of Aberdeen Women. She led the Dons to a comprehensive SWPL2 title win with 16 wins from the 18 games played, and they are not in the top flight to make up the numbers as Emma points out the ambitions for the club going forward to push for a top half finish. With 15 of their 27 games being played away from home, something the club have challenged, Emma will be hoping that her girls are good travelers if they’re to achieve their goals.
We then chat to Motherwell captain Gill Inglis. After a difficult season, where ‘Well finished 6th out of 8 in a campaign that saw them concede 78 goals, Gill explains a change in mentality this time out under the management of Paul Brownlie and player-assistant Leanne Crichton, who’s experience will be valuable if ‘Well are to avoid being in a relegation battle this time out. Gill is confident that they will do more than survive as they move to a new home at Alliance Park.
Moving up the table, we are joined by Rangers and Scotland forward Zoe Ness. In their first season as a full time club, Rangers finished third in the table, but a total of five defeats from six to main rivals Glasgow City and Celtic cost them a Champions League place. Zoe explains that the ‘Gers have learned from those defeats and that the experience will set them in good stead in their bid to topple the top two this campaign, and how they can take inspiration from their male counterparts.
Last, and by no means least, 14-in-a-row Champions Glasgow City are represented by Interim Manager Grant Scott. Taking over from Scott Booth, Scott inherits a team that, despite critics writing City off with the investment by the Old Firm Women’s sides, showed their class once again by clinching another title on the final day of the season. He talks about what it’s going to take to fend off the challenge from Celtic and Rangers to prove again that they are the side to beat. In addition, Scott previews his sides crucial Champions League qualifier against BIIK Shymkent of Kazakhstan, where victory will take them into the playoff round with a chance to qualify for the Group Stages.
With the return of the SWPL Cup and Scottish Women’s Cup, in addition to the welcome return of fans to games, it’s an exciting time for the Women’s game, and there is optimism that we are in for an exciting SWPL1 campaign.
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