THERE has been a notable amount of player movement at Hibernian and Hearts this month. The Edinburgh clubs finished fourth and eighth respectively in the season just ended.

Hibs, who announced on Thursday that seven players are leaving, appear to have been weakened by the departures of Amy Gallacher, Amy Muir and Colette Cavanagh in particular. Gallacher has signed for Celtic, 111 years after her illustrious great-grandfather Patsy, a Parkhead legend, joined the club.

The 23-year-old, who played 15 times for the Scotland under-19 side, scoring four goals, will be hoping the change of environment can lead to senior recognition. Muir, who has also gone to one of Hibs' main rivals, Glasgow City, will entertain similar thoughts after falling off the radar since her only appearance against Northern Ireland two years ago.

Former Celtic player Cavanagh is another big loss to Hibs given her industry, attitude and important goals. Hibs, who have been the most successful side in Edinburgh this century, will also continue to be without the hugely influential Rachael Boyle – although the 30-year-old Scotland player does intend to resume playing after the birth of her second child later this year.

On the other side of the register, Hibs have signed several players from outwith Scotland, the most notable of whom is striker Krystyna Freda. The American, who has ten Cyprus caps after becoming eligible to play for them, scored against Glasgow City in the 2018-19 Champions League – and then joined City for a short spell in 2020 but barely played because of the lockdown.

Hearts, who have always stated they would take the gradualist approach to professionalism, announced the departure of six players. They included Claire Delworth, who has a long association with the club as well as being a supporter, Clare Williamson, Lia Tweedie and Beth McKay, with the latter quickly being revealed as a new Partick Thistle signing.

Loan signings Maria McAneny and Rebecca McAllister have also returned to Celtic, but Hearts, who had one of the youngest teams in SWPL 1 last season, have brought in the experienced Emma Brownlie and Ciara Grant, both from Rangers.

By comparison with Hibs and Hearts, Spartans continue to invest in a settled squad, with long-term players signing up for a further season. It's important that the Edinburgh clubs make their presence felt in a league which is starting to be dominated by the top three Glasgow sides – and now has five from the city in total.

SCOTT Booth says similarities between Glasgow City and Lewes were among the factors which persuaded him to join the FA Championship club. He was appointed manager last month on a two and a half year contract.

Although Lewes differ in having a men's team also, the fan-owned club attracted headlines in 2017 when they introduced equality for their two sides. They have the same on and off the pitch budgets, which enables Lewes to state they are the first – and so far only – football club in the world paying their women and men players equally.

“They're nice people who care about the club and values it stands for,” Booth says of his new employers. “The town itself is beautiful and there will be a new hybrid pitch to play on next season.”

Booth compares CEO Maggie Murphy and general manager Lynne Burrell to City founders Laura Montgomery and Carol Anne Stewart. The third member of the triumvirate is head of performance Kelly Lindsey, an American who is a former player and coach.

The women's team, which was formed four years after Glasgow City in 2002, finished eighth in the second tier Championship last season, signing off with a 2-1 win over promoted Liverpool. The previous season was a best ever fifth.

Booth's new environment is in total contrast to that of Birmingham City, where he was sacked last November after just five months in charge. His previous team and current one will meet in the league this season as Birmingham were relegated.

“From start to finish it was just a bad experience, unfortunately,” Booth says of his time at the Midlands club.

PREPARATIONS for Scotland's World Cup qualifier against Ukraine in Rzeszow will start tomorrow. Although the squad announcement won't be until the end of the week, it will be preceded by a four day training camp at Oriam.

Captain Rachel Corsie and Erin Cuthbert are among some 20 players who will meet up in Edinburgh.

APPLICATIONS for the newly created role of women's officer at PFA Scotland are still being accepted. It's a great position for an ex-player wanting to remain active in the game.