With the teams tied at 2-2 – goals from Megyu Shen and Jenna Clark and a penalty apiece from Charlie Wellings and Lauren Davidson had taken the game into extra-time – there was a composed finish from Atkinson to give Celtic the victory.
For Glasgow City, this will be a summer of sober reflection. Having lost the title to Rangers this is the first season in 18 years in which they have nothing to show for their endeavours. One has to wonder if the increasing drive towards professional contracts with Celtic and Rangers leading the financial charge will polarise the rest of the league.That is a conversation for another day.
In terms of yesterday’s game, this was a brave and bold performance from Celtic who played the bulk of the game with a numerical disadvantage; a harsh red-card for Jodie Bartle which carried the double punishment of a penalty and a dismissal meant they played 79 minutes in total with a player short.
Having gone into the break level the expectancy would have been an onslaught for City in the second period. It did not materialise that way. Indeed, the money would have been on Wellings clinching it for Celtic as the minutes of regulation time drew to a close.
The striker, with 40 goals this season, rounded Glasgow City goalkeeper Lee Alexander before inexplicably lashing wildly at an open goal and lifting her effort well beyond the target.
Out on their feet as the game went into extra-time, Celtic could point to some big performers holding firm as the legs started to jelly. Caitlin Hayes was exceptional as she picked up much of the defensive slack left by Bartle’s exit. Sarah Harkes’ ball through for the winning goal was outstanding while Kelly Clark, Shen and Wellings ran themselves into the ground.
City offered much and had ample chances, especially as Celtic started to tire in the latter stages, but they lacked bite and menace in the final third.
Celtic goalkeeper Rachael Johnstone did well to repel much of which came her way and there was a resoluteness about the Parkhead side that seemed to augur well the longer the game went on.
Harkes’ composure to set up the winning goal was a moment of quality as the game had grown increasingly ragged. Her clever turn seemed to take out the City midfield before the weight of her pass was delivered perfectly for Atkinson to run onto. Her first touch allowed her a minute to steady herself before she drove a left-footed effort low through the legs of Alexander.
City, to their credit, tried to rouse themselves for one final push. They seemed to push everything and everyone into the Celtic box but, superbly organised by Clark and Hayes, Celtic were equal to anything that came their way.
One could only wonder what went through the minds of the City players as they watched Celtic lift the trophy in front of a record attendance for a Scottish Women’s Cup final of 4345 spectators. For so long the partying has been their domain.
What comes next will be intriguing to watch.
Celtic: Johnstone; Shorts, Clark, Bartle, Hayes; Larisey (Atkinson 84), Chance, Harkes (Ross 119), Shen; Jacynta (Craig 77), Wellings (Bowie 117)Subs: Marwaha, Toland, Timoney.
Glasgow City: Alexander; Lauder (Dodds 112), Walsh, Clark, Foley; Fulton (Farrelly 21), Shine (Kats 81); Chincilla, Filipa, Foley; Grant (Fulutudilu 71)Subs: Clachers, Molin, Bates.
Referee: Daniel Graves.