THE waiting is finally over for Scotland's top eight teams as the Scottish Building Society SWPL1 season resumes. Match of the day is third place Celtic hosting the side above them, Glasgow City, at the K-Park.

A great deal has changed since the teams met in the first game of the campaign in October. For a start, City's goalscorers in the 2-0 win, Rachel McLauchlan and Kirsty Howat, are now with league leaders Rangers. As is Scotland midfielder Sam Kerr.

Northern Ireland's Lauren Wade is another who has parted company with the champions, but, having been left vulnerable when they lost 5-0 to Rangers in December, the City squad has been considerably strengthened.

Celtic have also had several departures and additions. Head coach, Fran Alonso, believes his side are much better prepared for the BBC Alba televised contest than they were in October.

Acknowledging Celtic were well beaten on that occasion, the Spaniard made the reasonable point that City had returned to training and played a Champions League quarter final against Wolfsburg in the summer, giving them a fitness advantage.

“We couldn't match their physicality,” Alonso confirmed. “There was a huge difference.”

Although there is every intention to play the scheduled 14 remaining games by June 6, that will be reduced to seven if no guarantee is given that costly PCR testing will end on May 17. The possibility of the shortened scenario makes today's game all the more vital for Celtic – they can't afford to fall five points behind City and Rangers, who travel to bottom club Hearts.

Unlike their two main rivals, Celtic have opted to postpone next Sunday's match, also against Hearts, because they have players on international duty. If they do lose to City today they could find themselves eight points in arrears (albeit with the postponed game in hand) by the time of their next match against Spartans game in a fortnight.

While Andy Kirk has undoubtedly improved Hearts, it will be a major upset if Rangers haven't extended their advantage over one, or even both, of their main rivals by tonight. Which adds piquancy to another changed factor since the SWPL was suspended in January.

Steven Gerrard's side have won the Premiership, which means a unique women's and men's Scottish title double is now achievable for Rangers. That, and there being two Champions League places to play for, will give the remaining league games an unprecedentedly high profile.

On that subject, the new weekly 30-minute BBC Scotland television highlights show starts tonight with all four games being covered. Credit to the broadcaster, who are also streaming the Hearts game in addition to Alba's coverage.

Elsewhere, Spartans and Hibernian meet at Ainslie Park – both have nine points from seven games with Hibs edging the goal difference. Motherwell, who parted company with Eddie Wolecki Black in midweek, take on Forfar Farmington, who also have a new head coach in Kevin McGreskin.

There is still, regrettably, no SWPL2 or Championship football, but there is a prospect of the latter returning on May 30 and perhaps continuing into July. That would enable the eight games required to decide the two promotion places.

JUST as the BBC has stepped up to the mark, so too did STV in midweek when they ran an item contrasting how the top of the women's and men's games have been treated during the pandemic.

As touched on last week, it's beyond absurd that a club which has reached the quarter finals of the Champions League twice, as Glasgow City have done, has the same status at the SFA as schools, amateur and welfare sides.

“There shouldn't even be a question about women's football having a voice on all the boards that make decisions concerning Scottish football,” City head coach Scott Booth pointed out. “Why is it separated with a massive segment for the men and a tiny one for the women?”

We need broadcasters to keep pushing at the inequality issue.