Team of the Week from ScottishPower Women’s Premier League games played on Wednesday 13th and Sunday 17th September.
Written by Jack Donnelly
Goalkeeper – Alicia Yates (Spartans)
Four points from six in their last two games has seen Spartans begin to climb the table after a stuttering start, with goalkeeper Alicia Yates building on some good individual performances. The young stopper made 10 saves across both fixtures, which included an impressive shutout away against Partick Thistle, providing Debbi McCulloch’s side with a real sense of security in the goalmouth.
Defender – Erin Burns (Livingston)
SWPL 2 newcomers Livingston continued their impressive start to the season with a 3-1 win over early-season strugglers Gartcairn, with wing-back Erin Burns bagging herself a brace. The 26-year-old opened her account with a first-time finish just inside the box, finding the far corner of the net with precision, before doubling her tally a few minutes into the second half as the wing-back latched onto an attempted clearance and caught Katie Andrews by surprise by drilling an effort in at the near post from a tight angle.
Defender – Meikayla Moore (Glasgow City)
Two wins and two clean sheets for Glasgow City in as many matches over the last week, with Meikayla Moore cruising through both matches with a pair of composed performances in the heart of the City defence. From a combined 150 passes attempted, the centre back completed 124 of them for an average pass accuracy of 83%. Making a combined 26 recoveries over both matches, the New Zealand internationalist also popped up with two goals in two first half minutes in City’s 6-0 rout of Dundee United.
Defender – Carly Girasoli (Hearts)
Hearts will go into this international break with some mixed emotions after some narrow defeats to Celtic and Hibernian in recent weeks, but the Jambos will undoubtedly feel a sense of pride at how well Carly Girasoli has settled into life in the capital. The young defender headed Hearts into a two-goal lead away against Celtic on Wednesday night and certainly put in a shift at the back, making 11 interceptions and 14 recoveries, while also misplacing just four passes. It was a similar story on Sunday against Partick Thistle, as Girasoli grabbed another goal, recorded a pass accuracy of 91%, and won 11 duels in a dominant 6-1 win.
Midfielder – Mia McAulay (Rangers)
Rangers go into the first international break of the season at the top of the SWPL table, with youngster Mia McAulay having more than cemented her place in Jo Potter’s starting XI. Playing in a very advanced role on the right hand side to go in line with Rangers’ attacking philosophy, the 17-year-old is chipping in with performances beyond her years, as she set up two goals in a 4-1 win over Motherwell before assisting once more and grabbing two for herself in a 12-0 thrashing of Montrose.
Midfielder – Monica Smith (Glasgow Women)
Having not won since the opening day of the season, a 2-0 victory over St. Johnstone would have been more than welcome for Monica Smith and her Glasgow Women teammates. The midfielder opened the scoring in the first 10 minutes with a well-hit drive from the edge of the area and put in a combative performance in the middle of the park, winning 20 duels and making 17 recoveries.
Midfielder – Kelsie Crainie (Kilmarnock)
Kilmarnock climbed to the top of the SWPL 2 table over the weekend, and now stand as the only unbeaten team in the division after defeating fellow high flyers Queen’s Park in Ayrshire, with winger Kelsie Crainie at the crux of Killie’s attacking play. The 18-year-old laid on an assist for Killie’s second goal with a low cross to the back post for the arriving Dionne Brown to slam home before picking up a goal for herself, turning the ball in from close range in a crowded box to put her side into an unassailable lead.
Midfielder – Shen Menglu (Celtic)
In Hearts and Aberdeen, Celtic faced two tough opponents in quick succession, but eventually came out victorious in both encounters, thanks in no small part to the contribution of Shen Menglu. Against Hearts, the Chinese winger juked inside from the left and laid off Paula Partido for the equaliser before netting the winner herself early in the second half. Then, against Aberdeen, Menglu picked up another goal, as she once again cut in from the left flank, dumbfounding four red shirts before sneaking the ball in at the near post. The winger also completed an astonishing 22 dribbles across both fixtures.
Forward – Josi Giard (Hamilton)
After losing away to Aberdeen, it seemed that Sunday’s match with Spartans would paing a similar picture, with the Edinburgh side going 2-0 up after five minutes. However, Hamilton’s Josi Giard ensured that her side headed back to Lanarkshire with something, scoring a second half brace to earn an important point – Accies’ first of the campaign. Her first goal saw her battle well with Robyn McCafferty inside the area and slot the ball past Alicia Yates, before drawing the game level after latching onto a back pass and blasting the ball home.
Forward & Star Player – Rio Hardy (Rangers)
As previously mentioned, Rangers sit top of the pile in SWPL 1, having scored 39 goals in eight games, with summer signing Rio Hardy contributing over a quarter of those strikes. The English striker, who currently leads the race for the Golden Boot, found the net five times over the last week – once against Motherwell and four times against Montrose for her second hat trick of the season. Hardy also turned provider for Kirsty Howat against Montrose, curling a ball ahead of the Scotland internationalist for the sixth goal of the afternoon.
Forward – Jorian Baucom (Hibernian)
Hibernian seem to have been finding their groove in their last few matches, running out winners over both Aberdeen and Motherwell in the last week, with summer signing Jorian Baucom having certainly found her feet in Scotland. The American, who joined the Edinburgh club ahead of their curtain raiser against Glasgow City, scored a hat trick against the Dons at Meadowbank before bagging the only goal of the match against Motherwell with a fierce finish past Emily Mutch, putting the Hibees up into fourth.