GLASGOW City and Scotland midfielder Jo Love made a telling point in the aftermath of Thursday night's Champions League last 16 triumph over Brondby at Petershill Park.

“All season we've stuck together,” the 191-times capped player said. “Other teams continue to hate what we're doing, so that spurs us on. We get on well on and off the pitch so that helps.”

You can't buy team spirit, and especially one as strong as exists in City's squad. As anyone who knows Love will appreciate, the remark wasn't made out of self-aggrandisement, or intended to belittle others. It came at the end of a tie which, based on possession and attempts on goal over 210 exhausting minutes, the Danes should have won; instead, the Scottish champions had the resilience and strength of character to make the quarter finals for a second time.

Goalkeeper Lee Alexander was outstanding, and is the main reason why City will feature in Friday's Nyon draw. However, two others exemplified why this side enjoys sustained success.

What wasn't known on the night is that Clare Shine injured a leg in the warm-up. Somehow, she played her part for almost the entire game. “She tweaked a muscle, yet put in that performance for 113 minutes which is incredible,” head coach Scott Booth, who also deserves much credit for his side's near faultless season, said of the Irish forward.

Then there is the one player who has featured in all 13 successive title-winning seasons, and who epitomises Glasgow City. Leanne Ross was injured two minutes from the end of extra time – but when offered the sensible option of being substituted insisted on staying on. That meant she could convert the first penalty in the shoot-out which decided the outcome.

Her decision proved to be a double bonus as Booth sent Eilish McSorley on for Sam Kerr instead. The central defender, who was injured in the first leg, converted her spot kick with aplomb to put City in the driving seat before Love finished the tie off amidst joyous scenes.

Glasgow City don't set out to be popular – and they're not with most of their rivals. Co-founders Laura Montgomery and Carol Anne Stewart have set the tone from the outset. Glorious defeats are not the way of Scotland's top women's club.

All that said, nobody at the club, nor outside it, is under any illusions that City will make history by reaching the semi-finals. The gap in resources between Brondby and the Scottish champions proved not insurmountable, but it's a huge gulf with the seven teams left in the competition.

Slavia Praha, for example, might have fancied their chances against Arsenal in the last 16, having beaten Hibernian 9-2 on aggregate in the previous round. Instead, they lost their home game 5-2 and Thursday night's return 8-0.

That's not an indictment on the Czechs, or even Hibs – but confirmation of the new reality. Previously unimaginable financial sums are being invested in women's football by the continent's top men's clubs. When City played Barcelona – who they could meet again in late March – in the last 16 twelve months ago the aggregate score was 8-0.

The five other teams in the Nyon draw are holders Lyon, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich, Wolfsburg and Atletico Madrid.


THE Scottish FA's strategic review into women's football isn't going to be a speedy affair. The first meeting is scheduled for later this month – some 20 weeks after Scotland exited the World Cup with a £400,000 windfall which is to be spent benefiting the game.

Nor is there going to be a quick conclusion. The review is scheduled to last until the middle of next year – again, some twelve months after Scotland departed France.

SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell heads up the working group, and is joined by Shelley Kerr and SWF executive officer Fiona McIntyre. Less obviously, SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster is a member, as is the SFA's head of football development, Andy Gould.

The Association is currently recruiting a representative for the SWPL clubs, and one more to speak for the recreational game. The working group will meet monthly.


STIRLING University will be relegated from SWPL1 this afternoon if they fail to beat Hibernian at Ainslie Park. As they haven't won any of their 19 games this season, their demise looks inevitable.