By: Hibernian Media on 21 May, 2017 22:05
Hibernian Ladies retained the SWPL Cup with a 4-1 victory over Celtic in the final at Broadwood Stadium on Sunday evening.
Kirsty Smith opened the scoring for Hibernian with a fantastic effort from 18 yards, before Ruesha Littlejohn equalised shortly after. However, Lucy Graham restored the lead before the break.
Rachel McLauchlan scored within a minute of the restart to make it 3-1, before Rachael Small extended the lead further for the side in the closing stages of the game.
Both sides were trying to feel their way into the game before two goals arrived within a blistering 60 second period.
The first was scored in fine fashion, with the ball worked from the right wing over to the left, thanks to a great ball from Siobhan Hunter. Her pass was received by Smith, who jinked her way to the edge of the box, rifling an effort into the top corner.
Instantly, Celtic hit back as a long cross-field ball was not dealt with by the Hibernian defence, and Littlejohn was on hand to capitalise and slot the ball across Jenna Fife and into the net.
The flow of the game was fairly even, with Littlejohn testing Fife, before Katey Turner saw her volley on the turn from 20 yards smash into the side-netting, before Hibernian Ladies began to take a grip on the game.
Another big chance came the way of Hibernian, with Turner nipping in behind Courtney Whyte, who misjudged the ball, but her strike from a tight angle was excellently saved by Megan Cunningham.
Eventually, Hibernian regained the lead in the 35th minute. Turner and Rachel McLauchlan had efforts blocked, with the latter’s finding Graham who tapped the ball into the net to restore the advantage.
Celtic looked to punish Hibernian Ladies shortly after a goal again as within minutes they fashioned a good effort, which saw Natalie Ross’ driven effort cleared off the line by Cailin Michie.
Emma Brownlie headered against the post, but the offside flag was raised, in the last meaningful action of the first half.
Chris Roberts’ side then had the start to the second half they would have dreamed of as they scored in the opening minute.
Pressure was quickly applied to the defence and Jaclyn Poucel’s tackle rolled into the path of Turner, who crossed the ball in for McLauchlan who simply guided the ball into the back of the net from three yards out.
From that moment on, the Ladies dominated the game in terms of chances created, with both Turner and Graham going close to adding a fourth before the hour mark.
The closest Celtic came to pulling a goal back was when Littlejohn tried her luck from distance, but she watched as the ball sailed over the bar.
With 12 minutes to go, Small, who was captain for the day, was alert after the ball deflected into her path in the box as she swept home, with the aid of a nick off the knee of a defender, to complete the scoring.
There were further chances to add more of a gloss on the scoreline, however it ended 4-1 to Hibernian Ladies, who brought the trophy back to Edinburgh for the second successive year.
Celtic: Cunningham, Ross, Napier, Crilly (Howat, 75), Montgomery, Whyte, Mulvey (Ewens, 70), Clark, Poucel (Richards, 64), Littlejohn, McFarlane (Fulton, 75). Unused substitutes: Dalgliesh, Gibson, Rafferty.
Hibernian: Fife, Hunter, Michie (Leishman, 90), Smith, McLauchlan, Graham, Turner (Turner, 64), Cornet (Gallacher, 77), Harrison (Murray, 89), Small, Brownlie. Unused substitutes: Reid, Robertson.
Picture: Callum Landells