Scottish Women’s Cup final: Celtic ready for psychological battle as Glasgow City look to avoid a rarity
City go into the final dethroned for the first time in 14 years; an unbeaten Rangers side made history by claiming their first SWPL title this season. Quite what the echo of relinquishing their long-held Championship status may have on a City side that seem to be in a stage of transition will be interesting to see.
For Celtic, the league campaign did not mirror last term where they ended runners-up and landed a Champions League qualification berth. Yet, there is already one piece of silverware in the trophy cabinet with Fran Alonso’ side claiming the League Cup back in December. Making it a double would be a significant return for Celtic.
City’s reputation will loom large over this game. The fear of ending the season empty-handed after winning something every year for the past 18 years will either be motivational or paralysing.“The psychology around the game is key,” accepted Alonso. “We have already beaten Glasgow City in a final this season when we won the League Cup. That is what we have reminded the girls of.
“They need to be composed and confident and brave on the ball.
“When you play Glasgow City you know what you are coming up against; they are a team of winners. They have a winning mentality that has been fostered over many years within a club that was accustomed to being successful.
“But we have winners of our own in this squad. We know the direction that we want to go as a club and as a team and we are very confident in our ability to do that. We are a hungry team. We are desperate for more success and this week we have worked incredibly hard on the intensity of our training and in our approach.
“What you will see on Sunday is two teams who want to win this game.”
Glasgow City have beaten Celtic twice in the league since the turn of the year but there were mitigating circumstances in both games as the Parkhead side’s title challenge petered out.
Goalkeeper Chloe Logan was injured and with second and third choice keepers also injured, Alonso’s side were forced to deploy captain and out-field player Kelly Clark in goal.
“We are excited for it,” continued Alonso. “It is a great challenge for us and we are all ready to embrace that pressure rather than be afraid of it.
“There is a particular pressure on Glasgow City because they have won a trophy of some sort every year for the past 17, 18 years. But when you look at the league, Rangers’ budget is way higher than City’s yet they ran them to the line. We will give them every respect because they have earned that.”
City manager Eileen Gleeson is confident that the players will cope with all the pressures that are swirling around the club.
“It is a Cup final and that brings its own dynamic,” she said. “The players have to manage the game emotionally and handle that. They have to commit to individual and team tasks and enjoy it but stay focused.”