My personal blog on Scottish Women's Football
Spartans will be one of the sides challenging Glasgow City for silverware. Last season, they reached their first Scottish Cup Final as well as ending City’s six-year unbeaten league record. Here’s what you need to know about them.
Founded: 1985 (became Spartans in 2008)
Manager: Debbi McCulloch
Captain: Katie Reilly
Stadium: Ainslie Park.
Spartans Women Football Club’s history dates back to 1985, and have played a variety of names including Hailes United, Tyndale, Whitehill Welfare and Edinburgh Ladies. As Whitehill Welfare, they achieved promotion to the Scottish Women’s Premier League in 2004.
Between 2006 and 2008, the club were known as Edinburgh Ladies and it was a time of great success. Not only did they finish third and fourth in the league, they also lifted the Scottish Women’s Premier League Cup for the first and (as of now) only time.
2008 saw the club take on the name Spartans, and they have continued to impress. In their debut season (2008-09) as Spartans, they were runners-up in the Premier League – finishing two points behind Glasgow City. They were have been runners-up in the league on one other occasion (2011), and continue to achieve top-six finishes.
They have continued to challenge for trophies, and have lost out in the Premier League Cup Final five times: three times to Glasgow City, and once to both Hibs and Celtic. And last season, they reached the Scottish Cup Final where they lost to City 5-0.
Spartans achieved their second consecutive fourth place finish, as well as achieving the League’s biggest victory, beating Forfar Farmington 16-0 on the 27th April.
After the first phase they had comfortably secured a top-six place, sitting 5th, seven points ahead of 7th placed Hamilton. Their form in the second phase was impressive, and their haul of 16 points was the third best in the top half – with only Glasgow City and Hibs doing better. Despite this, they finished five points behind runners-up Rangers against whom they had an unbeaten record. They picked up impressive victories over Celtic and Glasgow City.
In the SWP League Cup, they knocked out Rangers in the first round 1-0. However, they were knocked out in the Quarter-Finals by Aberdeen. On their run to the Scottish Cup Final, they defeated Forfar Farmington, Inverness City and Aberdeen.
Their season so far
Spartans began their league campaign in style, beating Forfar Farmington 5-0 to sit joint top of the table alongside City. However, they lost their second league game against Rangers 4-0. Their Edinburgh derby against Hutchinson Vale was a spectacular 10-0 victory despite only being 3-0 up at half-time. But when they played Glasgow City on the 29th April, they were defeated 4-0.
Their SWP League Cup campaign has the slight feeling of déjà vu from last season. Once again, they knocked out Rangers with a 1-0 win in the First Round. But despite being knocked out in the Quarter-Finals, this was done in more agonising circumstances – this time against local rivals Hibs. Spartans had taken the lead in the first half through a Sarah Ewens strike, before Hibs equalised in the 45th minute through Kirsty Smith. The tie went to extra-time when once again Spartans took the lead, this time Michelle Russell getting onto the scoresheet. Painfully, Lucy Graham scored in the 118th minute to bring the scores level again – and things got worse as Hibs won 4-1 on penalties.
Their top goal scorer in 2015 (so far) is Sarah Ewens with 6 goals, followed by Michelle Russell and Louise Mason both on 3. Alana Marshall has scored twice whilst Patricia McLaughlin, Kirsty McLaughlin, Ciara Barnes and Ronaigh Douglas have all scored once.
League Record over Past Eight Seasons
2014: SWPL – 4th 38 points.
2013: SWPL– 4th 35 points.
2012: SWPL – 5th 26 points
2011: SWPL – 2nd 45 points
2010: SWPL – 3rd 48 points
2008/09: SWPL – 2nd 51 points (as Spartans)
2007/08: SWPL – 4th 38 points
2006/07: SWPL – 3rd 45 points (as Edinburgh Ladies)