“On paper they are the favourites, but we know we can win this.”- Fran Alonso talks about his side’s preparation ahead of their Glasgow Deby clash in the SWPL.

Fran Alonso’s Celtic women side will take on rivals, Rangers women next Friday at the excelsior Stadium in their second meeting this season.

The Ghirls are going into this game in search of their first old firm win since a 2-1 Scottish Cup fourth round victory in February 2022.

Talking on the club’s preparation ahead of the fixture, Alonso said:

“I try to keep a normal week; I don’t want the girls to have extra stress. It’s a fixture that everyone is already very motivated for and it’s the biggest fixture of our season no doubt.

“It’s a game where we will be tested and we have to be tactically prepared and if the players are nervous, it will be harder for them to learn and prepare.

“Usually, we will look at one or two videos before playing a team but when we play against Rangers we do several videos and we will analyse our own training sessions. We put in that little bit more work, because we obviously want to win.”

Talking on the fixture itself, he said:

“They are the favourites, we know that. They have a bigger budget and are the current champions so on paper the are the favourites, but we know that we can win this.”

“Last time we played them, it was on a pitch we had only played on once before and we didn’t have a good experience, we had to play very defensively and, in the end, we came away with just a point, albeit a positive point away from home.

“This time it’s in front of our fans and on our own pitch, so we don’t want to have such a defensive plan. We have to be brave and we have to risk more because we want to make our fans proud.”

“I think we are in a lot better form than when we last played them so we all have very high morale.

“They are the favourites so we know we have to work harder and play better than them. We will try to enforce our own football rather than having to rely on being defensively solid like last time. If we achieve that, then we know they are beatable.”

“Last year we lost all three league games, we beat them in both cups, but we lost all the games in the league and we didn’t have a good belief in the league. This year we’re already in a better position because we drew last time and that makes it easier to build up to a win.”

On the benefit of having the home crowd, he said:
“If we get a big crowd, it will be such an advantage. In my three years at the club, our best games for me have always been with big crowds. We feel like they are our twelfth player.

“I’ve been a manager for a long time in England, Spain, Germany and here and I can easily say this is the best set of fans in the world, they are especially the most passionate.”

“We have a lot of Scottish players and a lot of them are Celtic fans so winning and pleasing the fans means the world to them.”

“Our quality is always great, but when we have a big crowd there is more fight and passion in the team and it’s just a huge advantage.”