Hampden’s showpiece added incentive in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals

Whilst there has been precedent in this competition for both semi-finals to be played on the same day at the same stadium – last season it was Falkirk Stadium – I am confident that next month will be different too. The first semi-final is expected to be played on April 22nd, the second on the following day. The final is on the 28th.

All of this is under the auspices of the Scottish FA, who have replaced long-time SWF as organizers of the competition. Playing club games at the national stadium comes full circle for the governing body, which for around 50 years banned women and girls from kicking footballs on their members’ pitches.

While none of today’s games will be televised live – there will again be a highlights package – talks are ongoing with broadcasters for the semi-finals. The only obvious area of ​​concern is how many spectators will be in such a cavernous terrain at these flagship games.

In tonight’s quarter-finals, two of the clubs with the biggest fans are eliminated from the competition. Defending champions Celtic travel to Oriam to play Hearts, while Rangers host Hibernian in Broadwood for a repeat of December’s Sky Sports Cup final in Tynecastle.

While both Edinburgh clubs have hopes of progressing, Hearts may have the better chance with home advantage. They forced Celtic into extra time in last season’s semi-finals before a Charlie Wellings double and pushed hard for an equalizer when Celtic won 2-1 in the league game at Oriam in January.

It’s the start of a very tough series of games for all four clubs as post-split games begin next weekend. Almost everything seems to be going in Glasgow City’s favor at the moment and they have a much easier game today against the only SWPL 2 side left in the Scottish Cup, Kilmarnock.

The latter’s manager, Jim Chapman, has jokingly said that a win against City would be a bigger achievement than almost exactly ten years ago when he was in charge of men’s third division club Annan Athletic. In his eighth game as manager, still looking for his first win, he took his team against Ibrox where they beat Ally McCoist’s Rangers 2-1.

Kilmarnock won the Scottish Cup in 2001 and 2002, both times when Chapman was at the club in his first stint. They defeated City 5-0 in the second of those finals, with teenage Jo Love taking a medal among the winners.

ONE of the teams involved in tonight’s other quarter-final set an unintentional record last Sunday. Glasgow Women have now lost all of their 22 SWPL opening games, along with a 14-0 loss to Rangers in August and the most recent 11-0 loss to Glasgow City.

Third Lanark had their longest losing streak in a Scottish top flight. They lost their last 21 games in 1964-65 and were duly relegated after winning just three and drawing one of their 34 total.

Back in women’s football, Kilmarnock finished bottom of the SWPL table in 2011 after losing all 20 games in an eleven-team league. They actually won a game, defeating second-bottom Falkirk 2–0, but the result was turned into a 3–0 loss as one of their players was 14 and ineligible due to her age.

Glasgow Women play Motherwell today and were beaten 2-0 last month. Paul Brownlie’s side narrowly missed out on a place in the top six despite beating Aberdeen 3-1 last Sunday, meaning the Scottish Cup will be a welcome change of pace for both quarter-finalists.

What is impressive about Glasgow Women is that despite their relentless negative league results, their commitment and team spirit seem to have remained intact. Manager Andy Gardner confirms this.

“Thanks to every single one of the girls,” Gardner said. “They show up for training in their numbers and just want to correct a few mistakes in the games after the split.

“There is still a fighting chance to avoid relegation. Of course we would want points on the board, but what makes our stomachs burn is that we came very close against all teams in the bottom six.

“With the pain we’ve had this season, what an opportunity to play the Motherwell game at the National Stadium.”

https://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/23396508.hampden-showpiece-added-incentive-scottish-cup-quarter-finals/?ref=rss Hampden’s showpiece added incentive in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals

Russell Falcon

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