Claire O’Riordan sees the decision to use Hampden Park for Celtic’s victory over Rangers in the Scottish Cup final as a positive development for the women’s game.
This marked the first-ever meeting between the two teams in the final of the competition, and it coincided with the inaugural hosting of the showpiece event at the national stadium. Celtic secured a 2-0 victory, with goals from Natasha Flint and O’Riordan in the second half, allowing them to successfully defend the trophy.
After the game, watched by a crowd of 10,446, Republic of Ireland international O’Riordan said: “Obviously, that shows a stepping stone in the right direction in the women’s game to be able to put it on such a stage, the progression that the SFA have been able to put into the women’s game and the support and exposure that has come with that.
“It can only mean that the game can utilise that and continue to grow and again, it is really important for women’s football here in Scotland and around the world.”
Celtic missed out on the league title last week after Glasgow City’s dramatic last-gasp winner against Rangers at Ibrox rendered the Hoops’ 2-0 win over Hearts at Celtic Park irrelevant.
O’Riordan said: “Obviously, it was difficult finishing off the season the way we did last week but in some ways, we took the positives, another record crowd at Celtic Park (15,822) and another three points to finish off the league season.
“And we just got back into work as we do every day, every week and we reaped the rewards today.
“It was a tough task but the most important thing was we stuck together and grinded out the result.”
O’Riordan says they ‘took the positives’ after difficult end to the season
Hoops boss Fran Alonso admitted the victory was “the perfect ending” for his side.
He said: “This week was very hard to pick the girls up, which was our dream.
“Credit to Glasgow City, they deserved it but football was cruel to us.
“We transferred this anger and disappointment into aggression and passion and today – against a superb team – we dominated the game.
“We could have scored more. but I am extremely proud and it was what the girls deserved. They never give up and never let me down.
“I told them before game even if we don’t win the game that I was proud of them – they have been 10 out of 10 this season. But that is the perfect ending. It is a very special day for me and my family.”
Malky Thomson concluded his tenure as Rangers boss with the Scottish Cup final, as he prepares to make his return to the club’s academy.
Earlier in the season, the Light Blues had claimed the Sky Sports Cup, but their league campaign resulted in a third-place finish. but, they experienced disappointment in the Scottish Cup final.
He said: “You get to the latter stages of any competition and you want to try and win it, so there are a lot of emotions.
“We have given a good account of ourselves across a long, hard season.
“There are fine margins. When you create opportunities you have got to take them.
“I have to say that no matter what, we have always been playing for something this season. That is a major positive.
“We won one trophy, we got to the Scottish Cup final and we came close to retaining the title so there are a lot of positives.
“It is a work in progress. but That is three years we have been professional.
“There have been massive expectations at this club. The learning experience they have gained will stand them in good stead for next season.”