Today saw the climax of the Scottish Women's football season with the Henson Projects Scottish Cup Final between League Champions Glasgow City and Hibernian at the Toryglen Regional Football Centre in Glasgow, just down the road from Scotland's national stadium, Hampden Park.
Glasgow City had to pick themselves up from the mid-week defeat by German giants Potsdam Turbine in the Champions League for this match, but they need not have feared a repeat result from that match as they dominated their Edinburgh counterparts in a match they were never in danger of losing.
The girls would have been forgiven for having a European hangover, but there were no such effects visible, with their sights set firmly on winning the trophy.
The match which was played indoors at the Toryglen centre was watched by hundreds of supporters from both teams which made for a tremendous atmosphere and even Hibernian chairman Rod Petrie turned up to support the female half of the Easter Road club.
The pre-match one minute silence from Remembrance Sunday was impeccably respected as expected before kickoff, but the tone for the match was set early on with chances for Christine Murray and Jo Love for the Glasgow side within the first five minutes and Leanne Ross tried her best with a header only a minute but deadlock wasn't broken at this early stage.
Rebecca Zoltie tried her best for Hibs to open the scoring with an effort she met from a corner after a scramble in the 6 yard area but this miss was to be rued only one main later as the Glasgow City side broke up the left with a cross being met by Murray with her low shot beating the keeper from close range to give the league champions the all-important lead.
This lead would prove to be hard to wrestle from the City side as they had proved throughout the league season with 20 wins out of 20, scoring 136 goals with only six in reply. With these statistics, goals, let alone wins are hard to come by against the Glasgow side and at this point, the Hibs side had their work cut out for them.
The game swung from end to end with chances coming from either side as they strode forward.
It was a joy to watch as both sets of players managed to win the ball, break forward, shoot on target, only for the other team to exchange fire for fire.
In the remainder of the first half Lisa Evans struck on target from a tight angle, Leanne Ross fired in a superb free kick, Christine Murray went close from 20 yards out and Lisa Evans had another shot saved after some superb play to work her some space in the box, all before the half time whistle for the City side.
It wasn't all one way traffic though!
Claire Emslie had her shot saved after she tried her luck from a loose keeper kick out and Laura Kennedy also benefited from a bad goal kick but also saw her effort saved by the player that gifted her the chance in the first place. Natalie Ross watched her ambitious lobbed shot from 25 yards out drift over as did Rebecca Zoltie from the same distance only moments later after a poor City keeper kick out.
The half ended on this point with only the one goal separating the the two sides and unless Hibs could sharpen up their scoring prowess, Glasgow City would walk away with the Scottish double.
The strange indoor lighting was playing havoc with press cameras, with shots being out of focus and blurry, but this didn't deter the players in offering opportunities for them to record on their SD cards for dexterity and future generations to view.
Hibs were first to try their hand in the second half with Natalie Ross breaking free after a long ball which found her one on one with City keeper Laura Williamson, but the goalie had been alert to the chance and had preempted the long ball, rushing out to meet the attacker and stripping her of the ball before damage could be done.
This warning was to be brief in the scheme of things with Hibs struggling to attack in the second 45 minutes at all.
It was to be City that would dominate the half with countless opportunities to add to the scoreline, and although many would miss, a couple would score!
This equalizer was never to come though as City added a second.
Lindner showed her class and skill on 73 minutes playing a cheeky back heel to Lisa Evans to create some space in the box and blasted it into the far bottom corner which was simply unstoppable and also proved to be a nail in the coffin lid of Hibs' attempts to win the trophy.
Evans was to get another chance five minutes later after a long ball found her clear, but her snapshot was well saved by Shannon Lynn in the Edinburgh sides goal.
Ten minutes remained of the match and for a few brief seconds hearts were in mouths as half the stadium lights dimmed for a few seconds but were quickly reactivated much to the relief of the organisers, and the City backroom team!
On 84 minutes a well weighted corner for City was met by substitute Danica Dalziel who headed goal wards but what appeared and sounded like a stop by a hand, not the keeper's hand claimed the City attackers but a defenders hand, was waved away by the referee.
Lisa Evans had a smashing thunderbolt from 15 yards out saved superbly by the Hibs keeper with three minutes to go but with time running out the Hibs defence was left helpless as a brilliant one two between Lisa Evans ans Danica Dalziel split the rearguard open leaving Evans to slot home the third goal, ending any slim chance the Edinburgh side had of retrieving anything from this match.
It was a great day for Glasgow City players, coaches and supporters. Watching their team lift a second trophy in a couple of weeks was a tremendous feat and although they suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of one of the powerhouses of European women's football, a season is measured on the marathon of events, not a short 100 metre sprint. This season proved they can cut it with the best.
Last 16 of Europe, Scottish League & Cup Winners, not to shabby!
Speaking on the club website, City Head Coach Eddie Wolecki Black said, “Firstly I would like to congratulate players and staff on their efforts throughout the season and it has culminated in winning the double, which we achieved today.
"This is not just a reward for the first team, but for everyone connected with the club. On today’s game, I felt we controlled the match throughout and limited a strong Hibs side to few chances. The performance second half in particular was very pleasing considering the amount of games we have played this campaign, and we certainly looked the fittest and most likely side to add to the score sheet. This just caps off a marvellous season for everyone and hopefully we can do even better next year.”
Marc Roseblade is a Contributor for Bleacher Report as well as Not Just Scottish Football and youth development reporter for Ayr United Football Academy. All quotes are obtained first-hand unless otherwise stated.
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