PARTICK Thistle will play their first-ever SWPL 1 game this afternoon when they host Aberdeen at Petershill Park. Last Sunday's scheduled opener at Rangers was postponed for Covid-related reasons.

Manager Brian Graham was instead taking notes as he watched Glasgow City beat Motherwell 6-0. The latter, presumably, are one of the teams Thistle will be targeting to take points off this season.

The 33-year-old, who remains a prolific striker for the Thistle men's side, is relishing his hectic dual role. Every weekday he is either training himself or supervising sessions, while on Saturdays he plays in the Championship ahead of being in the technical area for SWPL matches on Sundays.

“I've grown into the job and am really enjoying it,” Graham said. “When I took it on I said I wanted both teams to be promoted. We did it on the men's side and now we've done it by default with the women's side.

“While it's unfortunate for Forfar, we were the best of the rest in SWPL 2. We're ready to go, but it's going to be very challenging.

“We'd set our targets for being in the league below, but now we're up there is a big mad scramble to try and get some more players in.”

The unexpected promotion persuaded experienced former Hamilton, Glasgow City and Celtic central defender Cheryl McCulloch to sign on again.

“We had her for eight games in SWPL 2 and it was clear to see she was too good for that level,” Graham pointed out. “Once we got promoted it made things a lot easier to keep her, so we're thrilled with that one.”

HeraldScotland:

GLASGOW City's 2-1 defeat to Servette at Broadwood on Wednesday was expensive for obvious reasons. The SWPL 1 title holders lost out on a Champions League group stage jackpot of £345,000, and now have to pick themselves up for today's BBC Alba league game at Celtic.

City contributed to their own downfall in both legs against the Swiss champions. Nevertheless, their cause wasn't helped by having to play Wednesday's home leg on a day when the hottest September temperature for 115 years was recorded in Scotland.

The other wholly unsatisfactory aspect of the 3.10pm midweek kick off was the inevitably small attendance. The problem with not owning your own ground – as most SWPL clubs are only too aware – is you don't get to choose when your own domestic and European games start.

HeraldScotland:

PEDRO Martinez Losa named his squad for the opening 2023 World Cup qualifiers on Tuesday. Scotland play Hungary in Budapest on Friday and the Faroe Islands at Hampden four nights later.

I can reveal his No 2 will be former Glasgow City captain Leanne Ross. There will also be a second assistant – an as yet unidentified coach who Martinez Losa worked with in his last job at Bordeaux.

Ross, who was a member of interim head coach Stuart McLaren's backroom team, will now concentrate full time on coaching. She has resigned from her long-time job as an Active Schools Co-ordinator to take on the Scotland role and a more full-time commitment as assistant to Grant Scott at City.

Martinez Losa is waiting until the squad assembles tonight and tomorrow before naming a new vice-captain. An obvious choice would be Caroline Weir, who wore the armband against Ukraine at last year's Pinatar Cup.

The Manchester City midfielder could do with a boost after her side were knocked out of the Champions League by Real Madrid in midweek. It was the big shock of the second round, especially as the winners had been trounced 4-0 by Celtic's conquerors Levante in between the two legs.

Having named no new players in his original squad, that changed yesterday when Martinez Losa brought in Glasgow City winger Lauren Davidson to replace Manchester United's Kirsty Smith.

HeraldScotland:

THERE have been positive developments at both Hamilton Accies and Boroughmuir Thistle. The former, who host Rangers today, are now fully integrated within the main club, while SWPL 2 Boroughmuir, who are at Queen's Park, announced a partnership with Edinburgh University.

SWF chief executive Aileen Campbell and the SFA's Sam Milne have also had constructive talks with the St Johnstone board about ensuring the survival of their SWPL 2 side. More progress is expected this week.

Last, but far from least, SWF have received a second £100,000 donation from an anonymous benefactor via the SFP Trust. More on this next week, but the organisation will spend some of the windfall on recruiting a commercial partnership manager.

Unrelated sponsorship announcements are also expected very soon.