Rangers vs Celtic: Old Firm sides both win to set up mammoth weekend clash
Rangers host Celtic in the Scottish Women’s Premier League (SWPL) this weekend, with the winner destined for Champions League qualification.
Head coach Malky Thomson has hailed the belief within his squad ahead of Sunday’s mammoth Old Firm derby, admitting he feels his players are beginning to handle the expectations that comes with playing for a club of Rangers’ size.
The Blue Belles took maximum points in Peniciuk on Wednesday night, defeating fourth placed Hibs 3-0 thanks to a brace from teenage centre back Carly Girasoli and a late volley from player of the year Brianna Westrup.
Rangers, who have won their last three games in a row without conceding, now head into their final Old Firm clash of the season knowing that a win would put them four points clear of the Hoops and almost certainly seal qualification for the Champions League for the first time in the club’s history.
"I think the process we are going through is going to take time, but for me last night’s win really let me see how far the girls have came on in terms of belief in themselves and handling playing for a club like Rangers,” Thomson said.
"When you play for Rangers you’re expected to do X, Y and Z. If teams beat Rangers, it’s seen as a great result and we have to handle that pressure and sustain that for 90 minutes.
"I was really pleased the girls remained resilient, were patient and played as they did on a difficult surface.”
Meanwhile Celtic, who thrashed Spartans 4-0, head into the game at Auchenhowie just one place and one point behind the Gers, with the knowledge they are the only side to have not dropped a point against Thomson’s side this campaign, having won both this season’s Old Firm clashes 1-0.
With the Hoops unbeaten in nine, the Celtic boss cited the defeat at Glasgow City in April as a turning point for his side.
"It [the defeat against Glasgow City] was probably a good thing looking back, we are unbeaten and have only dropped two points since since. We have to be proud.
"However, we haven’t achieved anything yet and we have to keep fighting till the end."
Rangers vs Celtic will be live on BBC Alba this Sunday, with kick off scheduled for 4:30pm.
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