A cliched game of two halves saw Hibernian beat Celtic 3-1 to progress to the Scottish Women’s Cup Semi-Finals. In the first half, Celtic played superbly and they deservedly led 1-0 at half-time – but it always felt like they needed at least a second goal. And this proved to be true as a different Hibernian side came out and ruthlessly secured their progress through Abi Harrison’s hat-trick.
Celtic had taken the lead in the seventh minute when Kelly Clark’s deflected free-kick wrong-footed the Hibs’ keeper Kirsty Jefferies.
But Abigail Harrison found her shooting boots in the second half. She equalised in the 52 minute with a composed finish, and then five minutes later put Hibs in front through a tap-in.
Kirsty Smith had a goal ruled out for offside before Harrison completed her hat-trick in the 79th minute with a clever chip.
The Quarter-Final had an even start, but Celtic could have taken the lead early on when Abbi Grant cut off the left-wing and tried her luck from 25 yards and her effort only just went wide.
And then Grant won the free-kick that saw Celtic take the lead. The set piece was 30 yards from goal in a central position, and captain’s Kelly Clark’s effort deflected off the wall and this wrong-footed Hibernian’s keeper Kirsty Jefferies.
Kirsty Howat had a couple of chances to extend their lead soon after, but both times, her shots were blocked.
Hibernian was getting the ball into the Celtic half, but they were struggling to find the gaps and break them down. Whereas Celtic looked dangerous each time they were going forward.
Sloppy passing from Hibernian at the back gifted Celtic possession, and with Jefferies out of position, Howat tried her luck with a first-time effort – but it crept just wide.
As the half grew older, Hibs were starting to create a couple of good chances. Lisa Robertson’s free-kick picked out Emma Brownlie, but her looping header lacked the power to trouble Celtic’s keeper Megan Cunningham. And then Kirsty Smith’s 20-yard strike stung Cunningham’s palms.
With half-time approaching, Celtic could have doubled their lead when Heather Richards’ corner was headed back by Clark, however, Georgie Rafferty couldn’t divert the ball goalwards.
Hibernian looked a different team as soon as the second half kicked off, and soon Rachel McLauchlan had a deflected shot by Cunningham. And the Robertson’s free-kick fell to Abi Harrison whose firmly hit volley was met by Cunningham’s stunning save.
And then, Hibernian equalised. A ball down the middle found Harrison onside and she beat Cunningham with a composed finish that picked out the bottom corner.
She could have scored a second when McLauchlan’s long ball found Harrison in a similar position to her goal, but she stabbed the ball wide. And the Hibs’ forward looked like she was determined to win the cup-tie on her own, with her powerful shot just going over.
Then Hibs took the lead when McLauchlan’s cross picked out Harrison and she scored a tap-in.
They had a couple of chances to score their third with Joelle Murray heading wide from Smith’s cross and Robertson’s shot was parried away by Cunningham.
Hibs thought they had scored their third when Smith’s shot beat Cunningham at the near post, but the assistant referee decided that the left-back had been offside when the ball was played to her.
McLauchlan had a great chance to score when Harrison cut the ball back to her, but she shot wide.
Finally, Hibernian scored the crucial third goal. McLauchlan’s early cross picked out Harrison’s run and her first-time effort chipped the ball over Cunningham at the near post.
Player of the Match
Abi Harrison – Hibernian