'Disrespected' Hibs players challenged to prove a point against Celtic in televised league clash

Dean Gibson does not believe there will be much need for him to rally his troops ahead of tomorrow night’s televised league clash with Celtic.

Joelle Murray at full time during a UEFA Women's Champions League last 32 tie between Hibernian Ladies and Slavia Prague at Easter Road on September 11, 2019. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
Joelle Murray at full time during a UEFA Women's Champions League last 32 tie between Hibernian Ladies and Slavia Prague at Easter Road on September 11, 2019. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

The head coach of Hibernian Women says that job has already been done for him.

While Hibs were the team to challenge Glasgow City’s dominance in recent years, establishing a firm grip on the cups, and also coming close in their quest for a league title, there has been a mood change in the Scottish game.

Sign up to our Football newsletter

With Rangers and Celtic swamping their squads with professional players, prompting many to talk of their inexorable charge to the top of the table, Gibson and his players are unconvinced that such a scenario is inevitable.

Which is why they will head out at Ainslie Park, in front of the BBC Alba cameras, with a point to prove.

“To write off the players at Hibs is so disrespectful, especially when you look at what they have achieved,” said Gibson. “I’m not offended because I’ve not been here throughout it all but so many of the players here have been competitive for so long and I would think they will be feeling annoyed.

“That will already be in their minds - I’m sure of it - but I will bring it up to them.”

While the pretenders to the throne have made bright starts to the league season, each winning three of their first four games to edge ahead of Hibs, they still trail City, and Gibson says there is still so much that can change.

“The league is more competitive and, instead of a two-way battle at the top of the league, it is a four-way battle but we are not put off by that. We relish it and I would assume that City will feel the same.

“It is good for the women’s game in Scotland and Glasgow City and ourselves welcome it more than most and I would like to think it is a compliment to us both that Celtic and Rangers have had to invest so much to try to catch up.”

But money doesn’t always guarantee success.

“City and ourselves have been through it all before and, although Rangers have brought in players who have played in Scotland, Celtic have signed a lot of players from America and down south. On paper we would all look at those players and assume it is a strong team but we don’t know that. We don’t know how they will do over a season in Scotland but we do know what players like Joelle Murray can do because she has done it before.”

But the fact is, Hibs are playing catch up, having lost out in tight games to Rangers and then City in the past two weeks.

“I wouldn’t pick these three games in a row if I had the choice but it does mean that we don’t have to keep lifting it. The fact that it is more competitive means that there are a few teams capable of taking points off each other so while Rangers beat us, Celtic beat Rangers. That means that if we can beat Celtic then we are well-placed. Then in the second round of fixtures, that’s when we can turn things around.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.