ABERDEEN'S imminent return to Scottish Building Society SWPL1 is not only a credit to manager Emma Hunter and her players, but also good for the game. The more teams representing wider Scotland in the top league the better.

Six of the current eight are from Glasgow and Edinburgh. A seventh, Motherwell, play at Airdrie, a short hop off the M8 motorway which links Scotland's two biggest cities. The only club outwith this narrow corridor is Forfar Farmington.

Aberdeen play Dundee United today, and for a while it looked as if both might be in the ten team SWPL1 next season. But it is now Hamilton Accies, following a highly impressive three wins in eight days against all their promotion rivals, who will be promoted if they can win their final two also.

Aberdeen recovered from last Sunday's defeat to Hamilton in unusual circumstances when they beat Partick Thistle 2-0 at Cormack Park on Thursday night. Reduced to ten when captain Kelly Forrest was sent off just before the interval, the home side beat the odds when the league's top scorer, Bayley Hutchison, scored twice in the second half to take her season's total to 17.

“It was probably the most important three points since we've amalgamated to be Aberdeen Women FC,” a relieved Hunter admitted. “Even though we were clear at the top that gap was beginning to close. If Partick had beaten us as well it could really have played on our minds and our confidence.

“It was a much needed win and can't be underestimated. To do it with ten players was even more special.”

Despite the near-monsoon conditions, men's manager Stephen Glass and his assistant Scott Brown turned up to witness the win.

“Stephen spoke to me on the phone when he came in and said he'd worked for a brief spell with a women's first team in the US,” Hunter reported. “He liked coaching them and said he was keen to have a chat with our team and get involved in any way he could – but with Covid, and him going back to the US for a while, we didn't get that opportunity.

“For both of them to stand on the side of the pitch in that weather was really commendable. I'm sure we can continue that relationship into next season.”

Hunter believes that the current concentration of SWPL1 teams in such a small area reflects the evolving nature of women's football. It is not mirrored in the men's Premiership, where a wider range of cities and towns are represented.

“The central belt always likely to grow ahead of the curve. It will settle down eventually,” she predicted.

Aberdeen will win the title if they get beat United today and Hunter said: “They are obviously a really good team. Is it fate or not that we played them in the very first game of the season?

“It seems forever ago when we beat them 4-3 in a really special game. It's funny that the second game between us could end in a special way as well.”


CONGRATULATIONS to Priscila Chinchilla on her SBS SWPL player of the month award. She may have been the first international player to receive the accolade, but her attitude on the pitch is old school Scottish.

A determination to win, and not be messed with, adds another dimension to her fast feet and fine technical skills. It can't have been easy for the 19-year-old to arrive in Glasgow speaking very little English – especially as she was unable to train with her new team-mates (even with PCR testing in place) because of the SFA's refusal to accommodate it.

“I was completely blown away by Pri taking such difficult circumstances in her stride as a young footballer, travelling half way across the world in order to play during a pandemic,” City head coach Scott Booth said. “The type of football she has given us is incredible.

“You quite often get players who are technical like her but don't want to mix it. That has never been an issue for Pri – she likes to play that way.

“Our style of football completely suits her, but she's a special footballer and the technical side is allowed to come through because she mixes the physical side of her game really well.”


THURSDAY marked six months to the day since Shelley Kerr's departure as Scotland head coach. Her successor is expected to be named very soon – but don't expect the long wait to be justified by a big name appointment.