SWPL1 – Club Profiles

SWPL

On the eve of the big kick-off to the 2018 season, Pure Fitbaw takes a look at the runners and riders in the Scottish Building Society SWPL1.

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  • Team Name: Glasgow City
  • Home Ground: Petershill Park, Glasgow
  • Web: www.glasgowcityfc.co.uk
  • Twitter: @GlasgowCityFC
  • FB: @FCGlasgowCity

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  • 2017 League Position: 1st
  • Season 2018 – First match:
    Glasgow City v Stirling Uni (h) – Sun. 11th Feb. ko 14:10

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Head Coach: Scott Booth

Former Aberdeen, Borussia Dortmund and Scotland striker Scott Booth is heading into his third season in charge of City. Over the previous two campaigns it has proven to be a fruitful relationship, currently trending with an 84% win rate. Booth has continued the winning mentality and success that have been Glasgow City’s hallmark over the last decade and more.

Captain: Leanne Ross

With over a decade at Glasgow and 100+ Scotland caps to her name, Leanne Ross is as experienced as it gets in the women’s game. Ross is in the Scottish Hall of Fame for her service to football and her CV boasts 24 major honours. Ross leads by example and has a command that is hard to replicate at any level. She is the driving force of the Glasgow City juggernaut.

Star Player: Leeanne Crichton

One of Glasgow’s many leaders on the pitch, Crichton is a stalwart in the starting 11 who controls the middle of the park. Crichton gives City real energy from box to box. As a mainstay in the Scottish national team with 58 caps, Crichton is an example for all young players to follow.  Her game is characterised as much by her work ethic as her undoubted skill and technique.

History and Honours:

  • SWPL – Winner (12) 2004-05, 2007-08, 2008-09, *2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 
  • Scottish Women’s Cup – Winner (8) 2004, 2006, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
  • Scottish Women’s Premier League Cup – Winner (6) 2008-09, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

*SWPL changed from winter to summer schedule in 2009.

Formed in 1998, Glasgow City did not take long to establish a level of dominance in the women’s game. Over two decades of consistent success, the club has won, on average, 1.35 trophies per season, contributing to the 27 honours in the trophy cabinet. Glasgow City has been trying to challenge deeper into European competition. A quarter-final appearance in the 2014/15 UEFA Women’s Champions League its furthest progression to date. Ultimately, the depth of quality at the elite level proved too much for Glasgow to handle. However, the club continues to make inroads on the European stage. Glasgow City will always be associated with success in the Scottish game.


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  • 2017 League Position: 2nd
  • Season 2018 – First match:
    Spartans v Hibs Ladies (a) – Sun. 11th Feb. ko 15:45

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Head Coach: Kevin Milne

Kevin Milne is another former Aberdeen player building up his coaching reputation in the SWPL. In 2017, Milne led his Hibernian team to a 3-0 win in the Scottish Cup against Glasgow City, and also pushed City all the way in the league. Milne will look to use the momentum of that Scottish Cup win to give Hibs the belief that they can go one better this year and wrest the SWPL title from Glasgow City.

Captain: Joelle Murray

A one-club woman, Murray has displayed a loyalty that is often missing in football at all levels. Having come through the ranks as a Hibs youth, Murray is now club captain and combines that with the role of Academy Director at the club. There is no better player to sell the future with Hibs than Joelle. Her dedication and passion also shine through in her game with her no-nonsense style. Murray’s leadership qualities are certain to once again be a driving force for Hibs this season as they continue to progress.

Star Player: Abi Harrison

A dynamic, livewire, who can create something out of nothing using her strength and guile, Harrison gives Hibs a real spearhead in the attacking phases. Harrison has often been described as one of the most exciting talents in the SWPL and recently made her debut for the national team. She is sure to be one of the stars of the future and is definitely one to watch this season.

History and Honours:

  • SWPL – Winner (3) 2003-04, 2005-06, 2006-07
  • Scottish Women’s Cup – Winner (7) 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2016, 2017
  • Scottish Women’s Premier League Cup – Winner (5) 2005, 2007, 2011, 2016, 2017

Founded in 1997 under the guise of Preston Athletic, the team was brought under the Hibernian banner in 1999. Hibs Ladies has been one of the leading teams in the division for a number of years and continually pushes Glasgow City all the way in the battle between east and west. If Hibs begin this season in the same form with which they finished last season, they could be in with a genuine chance of breaking Glasgow City’s stranglehold to win a first league title since 2006.


Celticstemma

  • Team Name: Celtic Women
  • Home Ground: K-Park Training Academy, East Kilbride
  • Web: www.celticfc.net/news/womens
  • Twitter: @CelticFCWomen
  • FB: @CelticFC

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  • 2017 League Position: 3rd 
  • Season 2018 – First Match:
    Celtic v Rangers (h) – Sun. 11th Feb. 14:00

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Head Coach: David Haley

Haley has been at the helm since August 2013. Early in his tenure he had to deal with the loss of several international players from the Celtic squad and a fifth-placed finish in the 2014 season followed. The team has since been rebuilt under Haley and has had successive third-placed finishes behind Spartans and Hibs.

Captain: Kelly Clark

Kelly Clark POTY

Variously described as midfield stalwart or central defender, Clark was Celtic’s player of the year in 2014 and 2015. Capped at youth level for Scotland up to Under 19s, Clark was called up to the senior squad by coach Anna Signeul in March 2017 for a friendly against Belgium. She is yet to make her full Scotland debut.

Star Player: New signings

Several new players have been added to the Celtic squad as manager Haley looks to mount a challenge to the two Edinburgh sides this season. Former Spartans player Claire Crosbie was registered last season but injury curtailed any involvement and she will hope to make a bigger impact this term. 19-year-old Academy graduate Claire Adams has rejoined the club after two seasons with Rangers. Irish international defender Keeva Keenan arrives after a spell with Glasgow City, and midfielder Rachel Donaldson has signed from Stirling University.

History and Honours:

  • Scottish Women’s Premier League Cup – Winner (1) 2010
  • SWPL – Runner-up (2) 2009, 2010
  • Scottish Women’s Cup – Finalist (1) 2008

After taking over from Arsenal North LFC in 2007, a Girls and Women’s Academy was established as the team became fully integrated as part of Celtic FC. Having reached the final of the Scottish Women’s Cup in its first season, the team didn’t have to wait too much longer for its first taste of silverware. The Scottish Women’s Premier League Cup triumph in 2010 remains the only trophy success to date. 


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  • Team Name: SpartansFC
  • Home Ground: Ainslie Park, Edinburgh
  • Web: www.spartansfcwomen.com
  • Twitter: @spartansfcwomen
  • FB: @SpartansWFC

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  • 2017 League Position: 5th
  • Season 2018 – First Match:
    Spartans v Hibs Ladies (h) – Sun. 11th Feb. ko 15:45

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Head Coach: Paul Greig

Greig-Pic-500x363

Kirkcaldy-born Greig returns to Scotland for the 2018 season after spells in New Zealand and the US. During a five-year spell in NZ, Greig became the youngest Head Coach to win a National League title, aged just 28. Now 30, Greig has spent the past two years with Sky Blue FC in America’s National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). As Sky Blue FC’s Assistant Coach, Greig worked with some of the world’s best players on a full-time basis. He takes over from Suzy Shepherd at Ainslie Park as Spartans’ Head Coach. Greig will be looking for an immediate improvement on last season’s fifth-place league finish.

Captain: Alana Marshall

Club captain Alana Marshall arrived at Ainslie Park in 2013 from Rangers Ladies. The 30-year-old winger from Grangemouth started her career at Falkirk Girls and has also played for Hibernian Ladies and Boroughmuir Thistle. Marshall has been capped four times by Scotland and is one of Spartans’ top goal threats. A deadly free-kick specialist, she has 27 goals in 118 appearances for the club.

Star Player: Kaela McDonald-Nguah

McDonald-Nguah was signed permanently from Celtic during the close-season. An all-action, box to box midfielder, she is a unique player in the women’s game with a physical presence second to none. At just 18 years of age, teaming up with new Spartans Head Coach Paul Greig should really unleash her potential. Greig is attempting to instil a new culture at the club, including a youth development policy designed to take players like McDonald-Nguah to a whole new level.

History and Honours:

  • Scottish Women’s Premier League Cup – Winner (1) 2007; Finalist (3) 2009, 2010, 2011
  • SWPL – Runner-up (2) 2008-09, 2010-11

According to its Wikipedia page, the club was formed in 1985 as Hailes United, and has since played under several different names including Edinburgh Star, Tynecastle, Bonnyrigg Rose and Whitehill Welfare. It was as Whitehill Welfare that the club first appeared in the SWPL in 2004. Then came two seasons as Edinburgh Ladies before the club became part of Spartans FC in 2008.


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  • 2017 League Position: 6th
  • Season 2018 – First match:
    Celtic v Rangers (a) – Sun. 11th Feb. 14:00

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Head Coach: Amy McDonald

Former Scotland International Amy McDonald has taken over her first role as Manager having previously spent 5 years in charge of the youth teams at Glasgow City. McDonald will be hoping to use her experience and success at City to progress as many of these young Rangers players as possible in a similar manner. McDonald has also worked with Scotland Under-15’s and will look to take this current group of Rangers players to the next level.

Captain: Clare Gemmell

Gemmell is a vastly experienced midfielder whose support and guidance will be pivotal in the development of a young Rangers squad with bags of potential. Gemmell has experienced success at this level previously, with Glasgow City, and will be called upon to rally this talented but raw group in its push for silverware this year.

Star Player: New signings

ladies_group_1718

Rangers have been busy in the transfer market, and we will watch with interest to see which of their young, hungry players steps forward to become a star.

History and Honours:

  • SWPL – Runner-up (1) 2013-14
  • Scottish Women’s Cup – Finalist (2) 2009, 2010

Like many SWPL clubs, Rangers have come from another entity and were previously under the badge of Paisley City Ladies. In 2008, with the club in serious financial difficulty, a partnership was sought and PCL was welcomed under the Rangers Football Club umbrella. In its first full season as Rangers, the team won promotion and became the first club to reach the Scottish Cup Final from outwith the top division.


stirling_logo

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  • 2017 League Position: 4th
  • Season 2018 – First match:
    Glasgow City v Stirling Uni(a)  Sun. 11th Feb. ko 14:10

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Head Coach: Barry Rodgers 

Rodgers is vastly experienced in the game, having worked at the pinnacle of Scottish women’s football with both Glasgow City and Celtic. Rodgers faces a set of challenges that a lot of his peers don’t. His club’s recruitment is unable to match that of the top four or five clubs. It will be team spirit and hard work that will be behind Stirling’s push for the top four.

Captain: Chloe Logan 

Logan Chloe

Goalkeeper Logan started her career at Celtic as a youth player and has featured for Scotland at under-19 level. She is one of the most experienced players in the Stirling camp and will have to be at her best again this year to help Stirling battle their way towards the top.

Star Player: Eva Rule

A vote for Eva Rule could be seen as speculative, since hers is a name that not many will know. However, that is all set to change this season. Her performances and leadership ability for Stirling Youth have recently seen her promoted to the senior squad. Rule could be that enigmatic player with her as yet untapped pedigree and talent about to be unleashed on the rest of the league.

History and Honours:

Formed in 2015 when Falkirk and The University of Stirling merged as a result of the latter becoming increasingly involved – providing multiple functions to the former. With everything from sports science to coaching staff coming from the university, the decision was taken to bring the football club fully under the academic institution’s remit. The club is yet to taste success on the pitch. However, it can call upon some of the smartest minds off the field. Its progressive nature will stand this club in good stead as it continues to be a trailblazer in the women’s game and success will surely follow sooner rather than later.


  • Team Name: Hamilton Academical
  • Home Ground: New Douglas Park, Hamilton
  • Web: http://www.accieswfc.com/
  • Twitter: @accieswfc_co_uk
  • FB: @accieswfc

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  • 2017 League Position: 7th
  • Season 2018 – First match:
    Hamilton Accies v Forfar Farmington (h) Sun. 11th Feb. ko 16:00

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Head Coach: Gary Doctor

gary-doctor-manager-1

Doctor joined Accies as Assistant Manager under Kevin Murphy. He made the step up to Head Coach when Murphy left to take up a new role as Manchester City’s Technical Director. Doctor has become renowned for the defensive set-up of his teams as he has battled every year to make Hamilton difficult to beat. With a few new additions to the squad, Doctor will see this as the year that Hamilton can begin to climb the table.

Captain: Gillian Inglis

Inglis’ grit and determination epitomises Hamilton as a club. The dedication and fight that Inglis shows in every single game has often been the lynchpin in Accies struggle to pick up points. Her constant desire and professionalism is essential to Accies’ survival.

Star Player: Jordan McLintock

A versatile player who came through the ranks at Rangers as a fullback, she has developed into more of a left winger for Hamilton. McLintock is the key attacking outlet for Hamilton who will need to have a bigger focus on their attacking transitions. McLintock is exactly the sort of player that will help Accies pick up more points.

History and Honours:

  • SWPL2 – Winner 2016

Hamilton also falls into the bracket of rebranding and rebuilding much like many of the clubs in this division. Up until 2003 the club were known as Hamilton Ladies, then FC Hamilton before moving under the Hamilton Academical branding.


caney

  • Team Name: Forfar Farmington
  • Home Ground: Station Park, Forfar
  • Web: http://forfarfarmington.com
  • Twitter: @Farmington_FC
  • FB:@ForfarFarmingtonFC

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  • 2017 League Position: Promoted as SWPL2 Champions
  • Season 2018 – First match:
    Hamilton v Forfar Farmington (a) Sun. 11th Feb. ko 16:00

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Forfar-Farmington-lift-the-swpl2-cup

Head Coach: Mark Nisbet

Nisbet has coached Forfar for 15 of the last 18 years over 2 spells at the club. He knows the club inside out and his experience will be vital if Forfar is to secure its top-flight status. Nisbet is also one of the SFA’s Performance Coaches so will have a good knowledge of the young talent within the league and more importantly how to develop his own players.

Captain: Nicola Davidson

The attacking midfielder is one of Forfar’s main goal threats and has a knack for shots from distance. Davidson will be called upon not only to lead Forfar through this season but also to push the club on to bigger goals.

Star Player: Julia Scott

The former Celtic and Glasgow City midfielder is a real creative outlet and will be key for Forfar in the coming season. Capped 14 times for Scotland, Scott has experience at the highest level internationally, and also played in England and America earlier in her career. Scott will have to use all this experience to help Forfar stay in the SWPL.

History and Honours:

  • SWPL2 – Winner 2017

Formed in 1894, Forfar Farmington is one of the longest standing women’s teams. The club has been up and down through the divisions in the past and is run predominantly on a volunteer basis, making their achievements even more outstanding. Forfar famously won the SWFL cup in 2005 and that same year secured top-flight status. A mainstay in the top division until relegation in 2016, Forfar bounced back at the first time of asking and are now back in the top-flight once again.

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