Robyn McCafferty: 'Some look down on Spartans, but we're here to compete'

Spartans defender Robyn McCafferty says her side are "not here to make up the numbers"

It took weeks for Spartans to finally appreciate what a good season they had in 2020-21, admitted defender Robyn McCafferty.

The Scotland under-17 cap revealed the squad were gutted to miss out on a top four finish last season; with goal difference all that separated them from Edinburgh rivals Hibernian, who they open the new league campaign against this afternoon.

But Debbi McCulloch’s side are determined to challenge in the top half again this season, and say they aren’t here simply to make up the numbers.

“Last season it came down to the wire between us and Hibs, and I think we were probably a bit harsh on ourselves at the end of last season because we were so disappointed that we didn’t quite get fourth,” McCafferty, 18, told Anyone’s Game.

“Having had time to reflect it, we all realise it was actually a successful season for us and I think at the start of last season, if someone was telling us we would be that close to fourth position it would be pretty ambitious for us.

“This season again I think we want to push on as much as possible. We want to try and get that fourth-place position and then challenge the top three as much as possible.”

The Edinburgh based side have recently went semi-professional ahead of the new season and McCafferty is one of many players to be now benefiting in this new level of ambition from the club.

McCafferty, who will also be sponsored by Anyone’s Game this season, said: “I think sometimes we can be looked down upon, but hopefully we proved that last season that we here to compete and not just hear to be a club who just makes up the numbers.

“We don’t want to be here to sit at the bottom half of the table and just scrape by season after season.

“We know it’s going to be a challenge. The quality of the league and the quality of players is rising in the past few seasons with the likes of Rangers, Celtic and City going professional. We tried to prove last season that we are here to compete and hopefully we can do the same this season starting on Sunday.”

The SWPL 1 has expanded to 10 teams this season, McCafferty regards this as a welcomed addition.

“I think it probably needed to go to 10 teams,” she said. “I think it will make it that little bit more competitive and a wee bit more exciting. Especially having all the new teams come into it. We know how good they are going to be as well.

“Playing against difference teams and not just playing against the same team every few weeks where you feel like you are just repeating yourself will be a new challenge, but we are looking forward to it.

Spartans have already reached the last eight of the SWPL Cup where they will host Dundee United at Ainslie Park, and McCafferty thinks her side can fight on all fronts this season.

“We want to be as ambitious as possible,” she said. “We want to go on a cup run. We know that the league is the most important thing. We weren’t looking at the cup as a pre-season, we were looking at it to try and go on and improve ourselves.

“Also, to just try and go as far as we can in the cup so to make it out the group stages is obviously a good thing. We look at it as a competition and another competition that we want to do well in.

“Debbie (McCulloch) sets us targets, we all agreed that we want to go on a cup run. We just want to finish up as high as possible in every competition. We want to score more goals, concede less and pick up more points.”

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A guest post by
MA Broadcast Journalism student at UWS and an avid football enthusiast. I have a strong interest in improving the coverage of the women's game in Scotland. Twitter - Rhanratty99