Why Rangers Women are better placed to challenge Glasgow City as Lizzie Arnot becomes central figure
At Rangers, there is an expectation for the team to push Glasgow City and Celtic all the way in this season's SWPL1.
A key player within that, will be Lizzie Arnot.
Intelligent, sharp, inventive and constantly on the move, the Scotland international will, quite literally, be a central figure.
She has been moved from a wide position into the middle as Malky Thomson has sought to tweak the system of play as the team look to better last season’s third-place finish.
So far so good.
Arnot, who signed last season from Manchester United, drifted menacingly between the lines as she netted in 3-0 and 7-0 victories over Hearts and Hamilton respectively before Wednesday’s 6-1 trouncing of Spartans left Rangers with the only 100 per cent record in the league, ahead of the SWPL1’s big match of the weekend against Hibernian, live on BBC Alba.
"I think it’s been good," she told Scotland on Sunday.
“There is a lot more competition for places and I think you can see that in the way everyone has been training and playing, everyone knows it is not easy to keep your place and also if you have not got a place you need to fight for it.
“Everyone is very aware of that but aware that it is a whole squad process and that we are all in it for each other and you can really sense that togetherness this year."
This current Rangers vintage are stacked with talent from around the world as well as Scotland internationalists. It's the second full season since significant investment took them professional.
Arnot has noted an improvement on last year, aided by getting to know team-mates better away from the pitch, as they look to stop Glasgow City winning their 15th consecutive title.
‘Win trophies and fight for tiles’
"Don’t get me wrong, we had great players last year but we’ve managed to increase the strength in depth," she said.
"When everyone is fit it’s a really good variety of players, we’ve all got different strengths and we all work off well with each other, it’s definitely improved us as a squad this year.
“Being a new team we were still adapting and there is always going to be that pressure when you are in a professional environment and also at a club like Rangers, we’re there to win trophies and fight for titles.
"Everyone came away disappointed about finishing third. As a group we are wanting to do better this year and I think we are in a place to hopefully do that.”
That will be put to the test against Arnot's former club Hibs on Sunday.
The rejuvenated Hibees will be looking to put pressure on the Glasgow trio and will provide Rangers' stiffest test yet.
“We know Hibs are going to be tough opposition," she said. “We had difficult games against them last year and they have strengthened as well.
"It’s those sorts of games we all want to play in and the ones which are going to define our success.
"The fact we’re going into it with good momentum is going to help us and everyone is excited for it.
“In the past they have always been challenging at the top and we have to expect that from them this year.”
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