By: Hibernian Media on 22 Feb, 2020 19:24
Hibernian Women kick off their 2020 campaign on Sunday, 23 February with a Scottish Women's Premier League 1 derby against Spartans at Ainslie Park.
Head Coach Dean Gibson and his squad are raring to go ahead of the new season and our match preview has you covered for everything you need to know.
1pm Kick Off
Sunday, 23 February
Dean Gibson has been appointed as first team Head Coach, previously enjoying success with Hibernian’s Under-23s side over the last two seasons. Dean has brought in Neil Ross and Roddy Maughan as assistant coaches, while Chris Flockhart remains at the club as the goalkeeping coach.
Hibernian have used their time away from the action to add to their squad, through both external transfers and their own academy. Forward Carla Boyce and goalkeeper Sophie Allison have joined the club from Rangers and Glasgow City respectively. Eve Donald, Ria McCafferty, Morgan Turner and Nicola Jamieson may be four new faces to a lot of supporters after making the step up from our academy this season.
Hibernian have enjoyed a productive pre-season period, getting acclimatised to the new training regime and playing a handful of very positive games in the build up to the season.
Spartans enjoyed a decent campaign last year, finishing fifth in the SWPL 1, making it to the third-round of the SSE Scottish Women's Cup and reaching the semi-finals of the SWPL Cup, before being knocked out by Hibernian.
Spartans’ season has already started, as they competed in the group stages for the SWPL Cup over the last two weeks. Both games resulted in victory for the Edinburgh side.
Spartans have made a number of additions to their squad over the winter break, most notably is that they now have former Hibernian goalkeeper Alicia Yates and defender Holly Aitchison. Both players went to Spartans from our academy setup, with Yates having made one first team appearance against Forfar last season.
New Head Coach, Dean Gibson, gave us his thoughts on his first few weeks in the job and looking forward to the new season: “Although we haven’t had as much time as most to work with the squad, we feel the players are adapting to small changes we might make.
“The players have been brilliant from the minute I came in. Their work rate, attitude and application is excellent. I definitely feel we are ready for the season kicking off now.
“There is a good buzz to the whole squad knowing the game is approaching. It’s seen as a derby and one we don’t want to lose but also know how hard we will need to work to come away with a positive result.”
Scotland internationalist Amy Muir also spoke to us on her preparation and how the new additions are fairing at the club:
She said: “Pre-season has been great. It’s been really tough physically but very beneficial and we feel we are in a good place now to start on a high.
"It’s been a tough few weeks with some intense games but we have seen great improvement over the past month. We are in a good place now physically going into Sunday.
“Spartans will be difficult to break down and they are a determined side who won’t make it easy for us. We believe, however, if we can perform to our high standards set through pre-season then we can come away with maximum points.
“The new faces have settled well and add quality to our team. The players promoted from the Under-23s are now beginning to understand the demands and standards expected from them and they are improving each week.”
Experienced defender and fan favourite, Siobhan Hunter, wants the team to focus on each performance as it comes.
She said: “We just need to focus on ourselves this year. I think not chasing everything from day one is important. The league has changed, every team has changed.
"Having aims are great but taking each game as it comes is important. We want to be challenging at the top and we will make sure we prepare for every game properly.
“Our pre-season has been a mixture of everything which has been great. Joelle did a great job the first two weeks to get us fit after the break and the coaching staff using different ways has helped.”
Much of our success over the years has down to the great backing of our fans. Help keep our success going and push on to even greater achievements.
By purchasing a season ticket you will guarantee entrance to every home game of the
season, regardless of competition. Experience every pivotal moment at Ainslie Park in what is set to be another extraordinary season.
We also have a number of sponsorship opportunities this season where you have the choice of home strip, away strip or training kit for each player.
Continue your support of our squad and get your business in front of a growing, exciting audience by sponsoring one of the players.
Find out more on the Hibernian Community Foundation website.
The best place to follow the team this weekend is at Ainslie Park: get behind the squad as we enter into a new era of women’s football in Scotland.
For those tuning in remotely, our social media platforms will have everything you need to keep up-to-date with our season opener: @HibernianWomen.