New Glasgow City head coach Eileen Gleeson enjoys winning start as they book SWPL Cup final showdown with Celtic

Gleeson has inherited a side sitting second in the league, two points adrift of leaders Rangers
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Eileen Gleeson began her reign as Glasgow City head coach on a winning note as she watched her new side book a League Cup final place after overcoming Spartans, courtesy of three second half goals at Forthbank Stadium.

The former Republic of Ireland Assistant Manager, who signed off from her No.2 role to Vera Pauw with a narrow victory over Finland, arrived in Glasgow last week as the permanent replacement for Scott Booth.

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Gleeson took her place in the dugout for the first time on Sunday and was pleased with the way City managed to grind out the victory after a sluggish opening 45 minutes.

City had perhaps expected a straightforward afternoon in Stirling after their 9-0 thrashing of the Ainslie Park outfit on league duty last month.

However, it took until the hour mark for the 15-time SWPL champions to break down a stubborn Spartans side as Priscila Chinchilla latched on to Mairead Fulton’s through ball before finding the bottom corner.

A quickfire second just minutes later proved a killer blow as Julia Molin linked up with Tyler Dodds and the latter’s cross found Hayley Lauder at the front post as she flicked the ball into the net.

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Spartans were reduced to ten with five minutes remaining when Louise Mason picked up a second yellow card and City took full advantage.

Another dangerous delivery from Dodds was expertly finished by the acrobatics of Costa Rica’s striker Chinchilla.

Reflecting on her first week in charge, Gleeson said: “I’m loving it, everybody at the club has been great and very welcoming.

“I’m looking to move things forward and to do as well as we can do. The players have been really positive and receptive to changes that have come on.

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“It was almost the perfect Sunday, although our first-half performance was everything we said we wouldn’t do - very slow speed of play and not making things happen.

“We had a very direct conversation at half-time, focusing on our pressing, on our counter pressing and finding the space in wider areas.

“It was much more pro-active second half and the girls did what they’re well capable of doing, so I’m happy with that and delighted to be in a cup final now.”

Midfielder, Mairead Fulton admitted the arrival Gleeson has been a “breath of fresh air” and reckons there are plenty of positives to take from the match going forward.

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She added: “We knew it was always going to be a really tough game and we didn’t create much in the first half.

“The first goal was great build-up play from the whole team, we moved the ball really well. I just saw Priscilla making the run, played it through and it was a great finish from her.

“It gave us all such a lift. We just needed that to settle us down and we were able to play our football and managed to create more opportunities from there.”

Glasgow City will face Celtic in next month’s final at Firhill Stadium after Fran Alonso’s side came from behind to knock out Hibernian 2-1 in the other semi-final tie.

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Rachael Boyle handed the Hibees a 12th minute lead but second half goals from Australian striker Jacynta Galabadaarachchi and Charlie Wellings completed the turnaround.

Hoops captain Kelly Clark told Celtic TV: “It’s exciting for us and it’s an amazing feeling to reach a first cup final in what feels like forever.

“We wanted more fight from the team after a difficult first-half and the coach just riled us up. A late winner always make everything feel better.”

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