Celtic Women clinch historic SWPL Cup final win over Glasgow City as Caitlin Hayes’ header secures first trophy since 2010
Fran Alonso’s youthful side celebrated their first piece of silverware since becoming a professional set-up
A powerful first-half header from defender Caitlin Hayes was enough to give Fran Alonso’s side victory at Firhill, delivering the club’s first trophy since 2010.
The margin of victory could well have been greater had the Hoops converted some of the opportunities they created throughout a dominant 90 minute display.
A jubilant Alonso was bursting with pride at the full-time whistle and is hopeful the players first taste of silverware since becoming a professional set-up is just the beginning of a bright future for his youthful side.
He said: “It’s an amazing feeling. I’m extremely proud of every single player, the staff, what a group.
“That was for our fans, they gave us great support and we felt that throughout the game.
“I’ve been involved in football for over 15 years and this is probably my favourite moment ever.
“We controlled the game very well. Glasgow City are an amazing team and it’s not easy to keep them from scoring, but our keeper didn’t have to make many saves.
“We could have scored more and our game plan worked to perfection, so I’m delighted for the Celtic family, it’s an unbelievable day.
“It’s a very young team and I didn’t expect to deliver results straight away because it’s a long process and we are developing players, but they’re amazing.
“We keep pushing them and they keep growing. I’m so happy for the girls and hopefully this is the first trophy of many to come. The sky is the limit for this group.”
A crowd of just under 4,000 packed in to Firhill Stadium, setting a new record for a domestic women’s cup final in Scotland.
In an explosive start to the match, the first chance came inside the opening 60 seconds when striker Charlie Wellings saw her header tipped on to the crossbar by City goalkeeper Lee Alexander.
The outstanding Alexander was again called into action shortly after to deny Cheyenne Shorts who outpaced her marker before testing the Scotland international.
Celtic continued to stamp their authority on the tie and opened the scoring after 26 minutes. Sarah Harkes free-kick from the right was met by Hayes who bulleted a header into the net.
City struggled in the final third to carve out any significant sightings at goal but they passed up an opportunity to level the match on the stroke of half-time when Hayley Lauder’s free-kick flashed across goal and sparked panic in the Celtic box, but Jenna Clark was unable to prod the ball home.
The Hoops flew out of the traps at the start of the second half with Alexander forced to parry wide Harkes low drive from the edge of the box.
Wellings then teed up strike partner Jacynta Galabadaarachchi on 56 minutes but the Australian’s goal-bound effort was superbly saved by the City No.1.
Chloe Craig thought she had doubled the Hoops lead just five minutes later as her shot nestled in the back of the net before being ruled out for offside.
Despite being second best for much of the contest, City almost equalised in the closing stages when Priscilla Chinchilla tried her luck from distance but Rachel Johnstone was equal to the Costa Rican’s shot.
Claire Walsh then struck the crossbar late on from Lauder’s corner as City looked to set up a grandstand finish but the Celtic rear-guard stood firm to lift the trophy and secure a place in next season’s UEFA Women’s Champions League.
Glasgow City head coach Eileen Gleeson was bitterly disappointed with her side’s display as they struggled to register many shots on target.
She admitted: “It was a disappointing result and performance, Celtic were worthy winners of the game. We failed to create many chances or really test their keeper, so I’m really disappointed.
“Today is not the defining moment of the girls season. We didn’t perform well or reach our own standards that we expected to.
“Lee Alexander was our player of the match and that’s not the way you want to be talking after a cup final. We have to learn from it, we have to move forward and focus on the league now.”
Glasgow City: Alexander, Lauder, Walsh, Fulutudilu, Clark, Davidson (Fulton; 45), Filipa, Farrelly, Colvill (Dodds; 86), Molin, Chinchilla
Unused: Clachers (GK), Michie, Kats, Shine, Foley
Celtic: Johnstone, Shorts, Clark, Hayes, Bartle, Chance, Harkes (Toland; 87), Craig, Jacynta (Bowie; 84), Wellings, Larisey (Shen; 80)
Unused: Logan (GK), Atkinson, Olafsdottir, Gros, McGovern
Referee: Ross Hardie