SWPL: Celtic swept aside by Glasgow City to lose ground in title race

Leanne Ross (left) scored twice as Glasgow City defeated Celtic 3-0
Leanne Ross (left) scored twice as Glasgow City defeated Celtic 3-0

Celtic lost ground in the SWPL title race after they were swept aside 3-0 at the K Park by Glasgow City.

Leanne Ross' double and Hayley Lauder's opportunist goal put City five points clear of third-placed Celtic.

Second-placed Hibs, who trail City only on goal difference, beat Stirling University 3-0, while Forfar Farmington secured a 4-2 win away to Rangers.

Bottom of the table Hamilton Academical beat Spartans 2-0, their first win and points of the season.

No case for the defence

SWPL 1 top four

Celtic head coach David Haley had spoken in recent weeks at his delight at what had become a rock-solid defence.

In their first six games of the season they had conceded only once. The acid tests will always be against Glasgow City and Hibernian, and they have now conceded six in their two games against the top two.

With Celtic now five points behind having played a game more, it appears once again the championship race will involve just two teams, while Celtic will need to find a much-improved performance to wrest the SWPL Cup from Hibs when the two meet in the 20 May final.

The manner of the goals will have disappointed Haley. His side had started on the front foot, and only a brilliant save from Scotland goalkeeper Lee Alexander denied Nicole Pullar a seventh-minute opener, as she blocked a powerful volley.

But after 25 relatively comfortable minutes, City captain Ross lined up a free-kick. Celtic goalkeeper Keira Gibson was out of position, leaving the goal gaping, which Ross took full advantage of.

It was a cheap goal to lose, and the fizz soon went out of Celtic's performance. Claire Adams' free-kick was weak. Pullar battled for the ball with three defenders while her team-mates watched.

They needed something different in the second half, but it was the visitors who roared out of the traps.

Donna Paterson's header was well saved, then Ross' free-kick rattled the bar. As Gibson attempted to retrieve the rebound, she clipped the feet of a City striker and conceded a penalty, which Ross despatched into the bottom left-hand corner.

Celtic's Colette Cavanagh battles Glasgow City's Christie Murray
Celtic's Colette Cavanagh battles Glasgow City's Christie Murray

Jo Love's ball into the box was then directed past Gibson by Lauder for the third as City threatened to run riot.

Celtic's hopes were not helped when defender Cheryl McCulloch was sent off for a second booking.

City could not find a fourth though with Lauder's deflected shot palmed away by Gibson.

Post-match reaction:

Glasgow City head coach Scott Booth: "I was delighted with the team today.

"I thought we got to grips with the game really well, came out in the second half and didn't stop, and I think at the end of the day against a good Celtic side that are battling hard at the top of the league we did really well.

"In the first half we battled for everything and there has been times when we've gone out in the second half and we've dropped it slightly. But today I think we knew that we couldn't afford to do that; 1-0, it's a tight scoreline, and we came out in the second half and really got at them, and Celtic weren't able to get out of their own half at times."