This Sunday will see the start of the Scottish Women’s Premier League, following an exciting 2018 season.
The task for all the sides in the league will be to end Glasgow City’s dominant spell in the women’s game. City secured their 12th consecutive league title on the spin last season, just in front of second place Hibernian.
With squads just about set for their new campaigns, and places in Shelley Kerr’s Women’s World Cup team up for grabs, we have taken a look at three teams you should keep an eye on throughout the season.
Last season’s Scottish and Women’s Cup winners, Hibs will most likely be City’s biggest competitors for the Premiership crown.
Hibs have prepared for the new season in Valencia, as they look to build on a successful 2018 campaign under Grant Scott. The Edinburgh side have lost key stars, with players’ player of the year Cailin Michie and top scorer Abi Harrison departing the club for Yeovil Town and Bristol City respectively.
Scott has added to his squad as well, with winger Collette Cavanagh joining from Celtic and the versatile Leah Eddie joining from Rangers. Goalkeeper Sara Robson has joined from Hawick United.
There have been key departures from the Hibee’s in the close season but they have maintained the bulk of their double winning squad from last season. Hibs should do well again this campaign, and will look to keep hold of the country’s domestic cups.
This season’s newcomers Motherwell were promoted from SWPL 2 last season, following an excellent campaign in the second tier. They were defeated just once in league action under the guidance of Donald Jennow last term.
They smashed SWPL 2’s record points tally, but a remarkable season was brought to a bitter end. Hibs turned over the Women of Steel 8-0 in the Scottish Women’s Cup final. It was a reality check for Jennow’s side, which has gave them a baptism of fire in terms of what to expect in the top flight.
There have been numerous changes at Fir Park in the close season. Kirsty McLaughlin and Emma Black joined old Well boss Eddie Wolecki Black at Celtic, whilst Scotland international Sarah Crilly and Claire Adams are amongst the new signings.
A big positive is top goalscorer Suzanne Mulvey is still at the club, following her 24 goal campaign last year. If Motherwell are to have any success this year, they will need her goals and experience. Should the Women of Steel hit the league form of last season, they could be the surprise package in this year’s Premiership.
It is impossible to make a women’s football list without the mention of Scotland’s finest team. City won the Premier League in 2018 for the 12th consecutive season and reached the last 16 of the Women’s Champions League.
With a number of Scotland internationals in their side, including Nicola Docherty and Joanne Love, City have the strongest squad in the league. They will be playing with the added incentives of World Cup places being up for grabs. This could become a big motivator for Scott Booth’s City side.
The loss of top scorer Abbi Grant is a blow, but City still have quality all over the park. Goalkeeper Lee Alexander kept 13 cleans sheets in 21 games last season, Leanne Crichton and Love is arguable the best midfielder partnership in the league and Docherty is a solid defender at the back.
Having went invincible in the league last year, Booth’s side are the ones to beat this season. With their quick and energetic style of play, City will be a great watch again this campaign. Their big goal will not only to win the league, but capture the domestic cups, which have evaded them for three seasons.