PROVIDED they don't lose to Partick Thistle at Tynecastle this afternoon, Hearts will win SWPL2 and be promoted. Should Thistle win, Hamilton Accies will have to beat Kilmarnock at Rugby Park to claim both prizes.

Hearts are the obvious strong favourites because have their destiny in their own hands. Hamilton, who have a significantly better goal difference, were undermined by a defeat to an otherwise out-of-form Thistle side in September.

Hearts have made a strong run to the line since the extended summer break. A heavy SSE Scottish Cup loss to Hibernian was a reminder of the need to strengthen their squad if they intend to compete with the top clubs, but they won six of their league games and drew the other three.

The club's two SWPL2 defeats this season have both been by 1-0 to Dundee United, with the last being in May on an another rare Tynecastle appearance. Nevertheless, head coach Andy Enwood says a return to the club's home won't spook him and his players.

“The performance last time we played at Tynecastle wasn't a particularly poor one,” he pointed out. “We just couldn't put the ball in the net from a number of chances.

“That's not to say Dundee Utd didn't deserve their win, but what it does say is we're not worried about playing on a big stage like Tynecastle. The girls are really, really looking forward to it.”

Scottish Women's Football, while not having the resources for a helicopter Sunday, have plans in place for trophy presentations at both Tynecastle and Rugby Park. Enwood, naturally, hopes the precaution proves unnecessary.

“Myself and the coaches are very aware that we've got a job to do,” he said. “If we take our eye off the ball, Hamilton will be doing everything they can to take advantage.

“We're very focused on winning the game and if we do that we'll win the title. What better place to do it than at the home of the club – and from a selfish point of view also because I'm a Hearts supporter.

“We're looking to get about 750-1000 people at the game.”

Thistle haven't won since September, but, having seriously damaged Hamilton's title hopes will now provide the final hurdle for Hearts.

GIVEN the Edinburgh club are one of the top Scottish brand names, and are now committed to treating the women's game seriously, they have the potential to add considerable value to SWPL1 if promoted.

On the face of it the relegated club, Stirling University, don't have the same pull. Yet the student side once had ambitions to compete in the Champions League, as Cardiff Met have done in Wales.

As recently as two years ago Stirling were the fourth best team in Scotland, as they had been the previous season. They were notoriously well-organised and difficult to beat, but finished seventh out of eight last year and have amassed just two points from a possible 60 this time. That's unlikely to improve in today's last match against Celtic.

Having formerly been Falkirk Ladies, Stirling were promoted to SWPL1 at the start of 2015. The head coach then was Tommy Craig and he pointed out: “There was an initial five year strategy to become an established top league club. In 2017 Stirling won everything going in student sport, including the British Championship.

“There was also a 10 year plan which followed on – with one of the aims to reach the Champions League.”

According to Craig, who was replaced by Grant Scott in 2017, this target was based on a number of factors. The best players at the top Scottish clubs were leaving the country; the university could attract SWPL1 standard players from outwith Scotland on scholarships; and a regional academy – working with other clubs in the area – had been signed off by the Scottish FA.

So what changed? Again according to Craig, there was a massive upheaval within the university's sports development service, including a change of personnel at the top.

“In my opinion,” he stated, “it looks like Stirling have a reduced interest in football, and especially women's football.” With long-time stalwart Alison Mackie, who was originally at Falkirk, no longer involved either, the portents don't look great for a quick return to SWPL1 football.

THERE will be another trophy presentation today. Yet again it is to Glasgow City, with the club having made it 13-in-a-row titles.

Ironically they host Motherwell in their last SWPL1 match. City's title-winning game was against the same opposition on October 23 – at an away venue which was rightly condemned for being totally unsuitable.

City's hopes of a 100 per cent winning season ended when they were beaten 4-1 by Celtic in the penultimate league game a fortnight ago.