As Glasgow City continue their dominance, Rory Clark discusses how they have become record breakers
Glasgow City clinched their eleventh consecutive Scottish Women’s Premier League title with two games to spare. City convincingly beat second-placed Hibernian Ladies 3-0 at Ainslie Park.
The game was wrapped up in the opening 25 minutes as City stormed into an unassailable three goal lead, to which their opponents could not respond. If it were not Jenna Fife in the Hibernian goal, it could have had a much wider margin of win for the champions. The record-extending eleven consecutive titles continues the Scottish record for most titles run in a row, a record which Glasgow City set in 2016 after surpassing Celtic and Rangers’ record of nine in a row. The 3-0 win was perhaps a somewhat anti-climactic end to a title battle between City and Hibernian, which had Hibernian got a result would have gone right down to the wire, nevertheless, Glasgow City will not care one iota.
The club have presided over a decade of dominance in Scottish football. They have been unquestionably, by far and away, one of the most successful squads the length and breadth of the United Kingdom. Established in 1998, the appointment of Peter Caulfield a year later resulted in the start of a long-term project to produce the best football team in Scotland. Taking them to second place by the end of 2004, they clinched their maiden top-flight title by an overwhelming 16 points from stragglers Kilmarnock the following year. Although Hibernian L.F.C would go on to win the next two league titles, the addition of Leanne Ross from Newburgh Ladies would prove its weight in gold, the centre midfielder remains a mainstay in the City and Scotland squad to this day, and thus City arrested the title back by the climax of 2008. From there, they haven’t looked back. The departure of Caulfield was taken firmly in stride and under Eddie Black, City won the title by a regular margin of double figures. Successor Scott Booth has only elongated the team’s stranglehold.
This season has seen a plethora of young talent coming through City’s ranks, including goalkeeper Erin Clachers and forward Brogan Hay who were promoted from the youth set-up at the beginning of the season.
For all their domestic successes, however, Glasgow City seem to have fallen ill to the same difficulty plaguing their male counterparts in green and white. European football is surely the yardstick by which City must be measured and after the heady days of the Champions League quarter-finals in 2015, falling to eventual finalists Paris Saint Germain Féminines, the Airdrie-based outfit have fallen at the hurdle of the Last 32 for the past three seasons. By no means can this be equated to failure - having Scottish representation in a competition that features prestigious teams is something which the Scots can take immense pride from, but one gets the sense that the club will be eager to return to the depths of the competition once more. Should they continue in this current vein of form, though, that may only be a matter of time.