May 27, 2021 • 2M

Celtic beat the traffic and Hibernian as Fran Alonso hails 'massive' win

Hibernian 0-1 Celtic: Caitlin Hayes' header keeps leaders Glasgow City in the Hoops' sight

Peter Quinn
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Celtic shrugged off traffic chaos to claim what Fran Alonso described as a “massive” three points against Hibernian in the SWPL 1 title race.

The match in Penicuik kicked off 30 minutes late with a number of Celtic players struggling to get across the M8.

That contributed to a sluggish start from the visitors, but Alonso said it was more about how they finished as Caitlin Hayes first half goal kept Celtic within three points of leaders Glasgow City.

“That’s our 11th game undefeated,” Alonso told Anyone’s Game. “In a league like that, for a club like us that’s just gone professional, it’s massive, it’s really massive.

“It was horrible traffic. Some of the girls got here just 25-30 minutes before kick-off, so the preparation for this game wasn’t ideal but it’s something you can’t control. We did the best we could but it was one of the slowest we’ve started.

“But the most important thing is how you finish games, not how you start. They had a couple of chances but we defended with passion, with desire, with the organisation that we like. For us it’s a massive, massive three points.”

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Hibernian had done Celtic a turn at the weekend; holding Glasgow City to a draw to throw the door open for the Hoops in the title race.

But they were out to take points off Celtic too. With fans allowed back in, it was the home side who started better. Chloe Craig did well to block Carla Boyce’s effort and Leah Eddie shot over from one of a number of Hibs corners.

But after chances from the visitors’ Kate Nicholson and Lisa Robertson, Hayes headed Celtic ahead a minute before half-time.

Hibs went close from a corner in 66 minutes, but two minutes later Celtic could have double the lead when Hayes headed just past.

Colette Cavanagh had a late chance for the home side, but it was to be a third game in a row without a goal for Hibs, who now find themselves five points behind Spartans in the battle for fourth place.

Top three all win

Five points continue to separate the top three as elsewhere City and Rangers also won.

City beat Hearts 4-1, but had a huge scare in the second half when Mariel Kaney cancelled out Hayley Lauder’s eighth-minute opener to stun the champions.

However, goals from Janine Van Wyk, Niamh Farrelly, and Aoife Colvill ensured they need just four points from their final two fixtures to secure a 14th consecutive title.

Rangers slim title hopes rest on beating Motherwell and hoping Spartans can take points off Glasgow City on Sunday, but they kept themselves in with a chance by easing to a 4-0 win at Forfar Farmington.

Daina Bourma gave them a 36th minute lead, but it took until the last 20 minutes to secure the points through Chantelle Swaby, Sam Kerr, and Lizzie Arnot.

Meanwhile, Spartans strengthened their grip on fourth place by coming from 2-0 down to beat Motherwell 3-2.

Jade Gallon and Kaela McDonald-Nguah scored twice within four minutes to give the Women of Steel a two-goal lead.

Alana Marshall began the comeback when she scored on the rebound after her penalty had been saved, and seven minutes later she made it 2-2.

And with 12 minutes to go Michaela McAlonie won it for the Edinburgh side when she raced onto Marshall’s through ball and netted.