Hibernian on cloud nine as they thrash Celtic to lift third SWPL Cup on trot

The Hibernian players celebrate their emphatic cup win. Picture: Lorraine Hill.
The Hibernian players celebrate their emphatic cup win. Picture: Lorraine Hill.
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A third successive SWPL Cup triumph for Hibernian was also easily the most impressive as they swept aside a lacklustre Celtic team in embarrassingly easy fashion at Falkirk Stadium.

Lizzie Arnot, pictured, who hopes to be recalled to the Scotland squad this week after being out for over a year with an ACL injury, did her chances a power of good with five of the goals. The win was also a first for head coach Grant Scott following his appointment to the job last month.

“It doesn’t get any better than that,” he admitted. “A lot of stuff came off for us today.

“Maybe they’ve had an off day and I think the pitch suits us. We tried to play round them – that was the game plan and everything has come off.

“Lizzie offers so many different things. She’s got that goal threat and when she’s not scoring she’s providing and dragging the opposition all over the place. She’s so technically gifted and clever so she’s massively important for us.”

The Celtic manager, 
David Haley, by contrast was shell-shocked. “I thought Hibs were unbelievable, but I don’t know where our performance has come from,” he said. “It’s not like us at all to capitulate like that – and that’s what happened.”

As in the previous year’s final between the teams, Hibs grabbed an early lead. Emma Brownlie took a 
corner on the right and it was volleyed home by Ellis Notley for her first goal of the season.

Twelve months earlier Celtic responded almost immediately with an equaliser, but this time they went two down after 17 minutes. They had already survived other good Hibs chances when Keeva Keenan was adjudged to have fouled Kirsty Smith just inside the Celtic box allowing Arnot to score from the spot.

Minutes later it got even worse for Celtic when, with their defence having been cut open yet again, skipper Kelly Clark diverted the ball past her own keeper.

A bad afternoon then got worse for Celtic when Arnot got her second, heading Amy Gallacher’s cross against a post but following up to score from the rebound.

Hibs made it five just three minutes into the second half as they continued to run riot. Midfielder Shannon McGregor, a winter signing from Aberdeen, took a touch from Abi Harrison’s pass and lashed the ball home.

The sixth goal, just before the hour, was all down to Arnot. She cut in from the right touchline and left two defenders in her trail before sending a low left-footed shot into the far corner.

The rout continued when substitute Kirsten 
Reilly made it seven in 78 minutes and that was quickly followed by Arnot notching her fourth and fifth goals to round off a memorable 
performance.