The Ghirls didn’t have a straightforward draw for their quarter-final match as they faced Scottish League Champions, Glasgow City. Although a massive match, Celtic came out on top, comfortably in the end with a brilliant 3-0 win.
There was a great turnout at the Excelsior Stadium to cheer on the Hoops, and it didn’t take long for the home-side to find the lead. After good work down the right-hand side from Shen Menglu, she played the ball to the edge of box for Murphy Agnew, who sent a delightful first-time ball into the penalty area which Natalie Ross showed bravery to get on the end of, and header into the bottom left corner, while taking a bump from City defender, Amy Muir. Glasgow City did have chances in the opening ten minutes, but Celtic grabbed the opener.
Inside 13 minutes, Celtic thought they had doubled their lead after Glasgow City goalkeeper, Lee Gibson couldn’t claim all the ball from the home team’s corner, but the referee deemed a foul on the goalkeeper and City were let off the hook. Gibson was involved again minutes later, when she was forced into a great save by a deflected Celtic effort. Celtic were dominating most of the play in the opening 25 minutes, but Glasgow City created a brilliant counterattack, Brenna Lovera done brilliantly to bring the ball down and create a two-on-two, she found Emily Whelan who played an inch-perfect return ball which looked certain to set up a Lovera equaliser but a great save from Kelsey Daugherty kept the Celts in front.
At half-time Fran Alonso made a substitution, as goal provider, Agnew made way for third goalscorer, Katherine Loferski. A substitution which would work out perfectly for the Ghirls in the second half. Celtic started the second half, how they ended the first. The Ghirls were dominant in possession, and they got the goal they deserved seven minutes into the second half. The first half goalscorer, Ross’s corner wasn’t claimed by Gibson and this time the keeper was punished as the ball fell perfectly for Amy Gallacher to finish, to get her 12th goal of the season. After the second goal, the obvious approach from Fran’s side was to sit and defend their two-goal lead, and while Glasgow City had a lot of the ball, they couldn’t really create any clear-cut chance against the Ghirls’ stubborn defence.
Celtic began to get sloppy in their play with twenty to play, as they gave the ball away multiple times trying to play out from the back, and inviting pressure from the league champions as Fran was visibly frustrated on the touchline. Just as Glasgow City looked to be putting real pressure on Celtic, Fran’s half time substitute killed the match with a third, to book the Ghirl’s place in the semi-final. Menglu’s long-ball upfield was controlled brilliantly by Loferski who used her speed to evade the defender, before unleashing a delightful finish past Gibson to put Celtic in dreamland at the Excelsior.
Fran Alonso spoke after the match: “I feel very proud, I thought we were outstanding from the beginning to the end. We were never under threat, despite the quality of the opponent.”
Opening goalscorer and second goal provider, Natalie Ross said: “We knew it was going to be a hard game, but I thought we thoroughly deserved it, every player fought so hard”
Speaking on her goal: “I thought Glasgow City actually started a bit better than us, it was against the run of play, we needed that.”
Advancing to the semi-finals and knocking out one of the two other big teams in Glasgow, will give the Ghirls a great chance to claim some early silverware this season. To highlight the magnitude of this result, this is Celtic Women’s biggest competitive win against Glasgow City.