It’s been some race to the title for the Scottish Women’s Professional League so far, and we weren’t let down at the finishing straight.
It was all set up for a nail-biting end to the women’s soccer season in Scotland. The final round of matches at the weekend included a 3 way fight for the SWPL title and Women’s UEFA Champions League entry for first and second place.
Glasgow City, Rangers and Celtic all had a great chance, but City had a slight points advantage and only needed a win, regardless of other results, to secure the title. They were though playing away to Rangers, while Celtic faced visitors Hearts.
Both Celtic and Rangers sought extra backing for their sides by switching the venue to their main club stadiums, normally used by their men’s teams. Including the match on men’s team season tickets also helped bring in much larger crowds than normal and generate a terrific atmosphere.
That brought record-breaking attendances for SWPL games, 8,435 at Ibrox and 15,822 at Celtic Park. Very impressive, especially with BBC Alba and BBC Scotland broadcasting the matches.
Scotland’s women’s soccer season goes right to the wire
The fans, old and new, saw tense games with City and Rangers unable to score as full and then added time approached. Celtic dominated but missed several good chances before eventually leading 2-0.
It looked as if the title was heading Celtic’s way until a late goal from City changed everything. An even later equaliser from Rangers added more drama, before being ruled out for a foul on the City keeper.
That added to the roller coaster of emotions over at Celtic. It looked like they’d done enough to win and the crowd was ready to celebrate, then that late, late City goal hit them hard. A brief flutter of hope from the Rangers equalizer was soon dashed leaving Celtic deflated.
The late win means City take the honors this season and they will have been delighted with the win at a noisy Ibrox stadium over the current title holders. Especially as Rangers broke City’s run of fourteen consecutive title wins last season.
Some Rangers fans won’t have minded losing as much given it deprived their close rivals Celtic of the title. But it’s shallow thinking as their club ended in 3rd place meaning the UEFA Champions League places go to City and Celtic. Rangers missing out on that could be a very costly hit to finances.
There is still some silverware to be claimed though with Celtic facing Rangers in the Women’s Scottish Cup Final at Hampden on Sunday, May 28.
It’s been an amazing league season with twists and turns along the way and Sunday was no different. The boost to crowds and drama at the finish will help continue to drive the growing profile for women’s soccer in Scotland.