The First Round Draw for the 2017 SWPL Cup has taken place at Hampden Park with the ties drawn by Scotland Head Coach Anna Signeul.
This year the draw was seeded, meaning each tie sees an SWPL 1 side take on an SWPL 2 club. Once a tie had been decided, an extra draw was made to decide the home team each time.
The ties take place on 19 February.
Tartan Kicks’ Featured Match will be Hearts vs Hamilton Academical. These two sides battled for the SWPL 2 title with Hamilton winning the title by two points. Over the four matches between the two clubs in 2016, Hearts actually won the first three matches – but lost the critical title decider in October. Both sides are really good attacking sides, and it will be a fascinating match to watch.
Holders Begin With East Fife
Hibernian will begin their campaign away to East Fife. This is East Fife’s debut SWPL season after winning the 2016 SWFL Division One North with a 100% record. Last season, East Fife lost to Hibernian Development 2-1 in the SWFL Division One Cup Final – and with Hibs likely to play players like Ellis Notley who was part of that Development side, East Fife will know some of these players.
Glasgow City’s Challenge
Glasgow City will be expected to win their tie against Jeanfield Swifts, however, they cannot be complacent. Jeanfield were the third top goal scorers in the SWPL 2 last season, scoring 70 goals over the 21 games. Danni McGinley was the top goal scorer in the whole of the SWPL. They are a dangerous attacking side and one that City will have to be careful against.
City reached the 2016 Final, where they lost to Hibs due to Lizzie Arnot’s late winner. Jeanfield Swifts were knocked out in the First Round to Aberdeen.
Rangers host Edinburgh University Hutchison Vale (EUHV) in an interesting tie. Last season, EUHV were a side that on their day could beat anyone in the SWPL 2 whilst Rangers were a side that was hot and cold. Rangers currently have an interim management team as they look to replace Kevin Murphy. EUHV have begun the season with a new partnership with Edinburgh University and will be looking to get the partnership off to a remarkable start. Rangers lost to Hibernian in last season’s Semi-Final whilst EUHV were knocked out by Glasgow Girls in the First Round.
SWPL 1 side Aberdeen face the SWPL 2 club Glasgow Girls in a tie where it was possible both clubs could have been playing in the alternate SWPL division. Aberdeen was drawn into a relegation battle, and just managed to survive with two wins in the second half of the season, whilst Glasgow Girls missed out on the title by just two points. Aberdeen lost 1-0 to Glasgow City in the 2016 SWPL Cup Semi-Final whilst Glasgow Girls lost to the same opposition in the Quarter-Finals.
Celtic host Forfar Farmington who were relegated from the SWPL 1 last season. Celtic will be looking to make a step forward this season as they try to close the gap on Glasgow City and Hibernian, whilst Forfar starts off as favourites for the SWPL 2 title. Last year, Celtic were knocked out of the First Round by Hibs, whilst Forfar was knocked out by the same opposition in the Quarter-Finals.
Motherwell begins their debut SWPL campaign by hosting Spartans. Motherwell won the 2016 SWFL Division One South and have shown in past Scottish Cup campaigns that they are more than capable in competing at this level. Spartans have made good additions this pre-season, including signing Carla Boyce on loan from Glasgow City and the return of Alana Marshall. Motherwell lost to Hibernian Development in the 2016 SWFL Division One Cup Semi-Final whilst the Edinburgh side was knocked out by Aberdeen in last season’s SWPL Quarter-Finals.
Stirling University will look to continue their momentum from the 2016 SWPL 1 season with a cup run as they take on Buchan. Stirling finished fourth and impressed everyone with their style of play and will want to go further than last season when they were knocked out by Spartans in the First Round. Buchan finished sixth in the SWPL 2 but was unlucky in several games and showed what a good side they were at several points during the season. They lost to Rangers in the Quarter-Finals last season.
Stirling Uni (SWPL 1) vs Buchan (SWPL 2)
East Fife (SWPL 2) v Hibernian (SWPL 1)
Rangers (SWPL 1) v EUHV (SWPL 2)
Aberdeen (SWPL 1) v Glasgow Girls (SWPL 2)
Hearts (SWPL 2) v Hamilton (SWPL 1)
Motherwell (SWPL 2) v Spartans (SWPL 1)
Jeanfield Swifts (SWPL 2) v Glasgow City (SWPL 1)
Celtic (SWPL 1) v Forfar Farmington (SWPL 2)