Hibernian ran out 9-0 winners over Celtic in the Scottish Building Society SWPL Cup Final at Falkirk Stadium on Sunday 20th May.
By Catherine Etoe
“It doesn’t get any better than that really,” purred Hibernian coach Grant Scott after his side overturned Celtic 9-0 on Sunday to win their third Scottish Women’s Premier League Cup title on the bounce. It was hard to disagree: Hibs had just clinically taken Celtic apart, with hot-shot Lizzie Arnot on fire at the Falkirk Stadium as she unleashed a whopping five goal salvo.
Teenager Ellis Notley had set Hibs on their way with a peach of a volley after just seven minutes, and it was effectively game over for Celtic once an Arnot brace and own goal from Kelly Clark made it 4-0 with less than half an hour gone. There was no let-up from the Edinburgh side in the second half though, as goals from Shannon McGregor, Kirsten Reilly and three more from Arnot made it nine without reply.
“Once they got the momentum of even the second goal, after that it just seemed like they were going to score with every attack,” said Celtic head coach David Haley. “Hibs came out of the blocks so sharp, so quick, moved the ball really quickly and we just couldn’t handle it.”
Celtic certainly struggled to contain 22-year-old Scotland international Arnot, who is returning after an ACL injury suffered over a year ago and was described by her coach after the match as “massively important” for Hibs. “She offers so many different things,” Scott added. “She’s got that goal threat and when she’s not scoring she’s providing and she’s dragging the opposition all over the place. So technically gifted and so clever.”
For her part, Arnot was delighted to have made an impact on the game, but was eager to praise her team mates for their part in her five star performance. “Credit to the girls we kept going and kept pushing, everyone was making the runs and setting up as well so thanks to them for doing all the hard work. Some days it just clicks and today was one of them.”
Hibs had most definitely clicked on the expansive Falkirk pitch and Scott said the game had gone to plan but that his side would not get carried away after lifting the first piece silverware on offer this season.
“In fairness, I think a lot came off for us today and maybe they’ve had an off day,” he said. “The pitch suits us and we made it as big as we could and tried to play round them. We were very, very good. I believe they can probably do better, but we just never gave them a chance, we dominated from start to finish, and that’s the kind of team we are capable of being. We’ll not get ahead of ourselves. We’ve got ambition, that’s for sure, we’ll look to compete in every competition, but it’s early days.”
And while it was a bitter pill for Celtic to swallow, particularly as they lost to Hibs 4-1 in last season’s SWPL Cup final, the squad showed their class when they applauded the victors during the trophy presentation and Haley will look to them to bounce back.
“I told them at the end to be as professional as they could and respect who they are playing for and the club,” he said. “It’s so disappointing and I’m sure they’re embarrassed as I am myself, but we have to lift our heads and try and get on with it.”