Glasgow City have been Scotland’s dominant force for over a decade having now won 13 consecutive league titles. However, their hegemony will be challenged with Rangers and Celtic pouring more resources into their women’s teams – both clubs decided to go fully professional this year. Glasgow City have lost their left-back Nicola Docherty with midfielder Sam Kerr (not that one!) and forward Kirsty Howat set to join Rangers in 2021.
Glasgow City have produced stellar talent such as Arsenal’s Lisa Evans, Chelsea’s Erin Cuthbert and the Manchester United striker Jane Ross. They will be enormous underdogs in Spain and limiting Wolfsburg to a narrow victory in the quarter-final would be a fine effort. Glasgow are the only part-time team left in the competition.
Their task is made more difficult by the fact that the Scottish Premier League runs from February until November, meaning the it was only one game old when the league was stopped because of the coronavirus pandemic. Glasgow are able to cover costs of participation in Spain only thanks to a private donation from local philanthropist James Anderson.
Glasgow City usually play a 4-3-3 formation with Hayley Lauder as an inverted wide forward from the right and Howat from the left either side of Republic of Ireland international Clare Shine. They have plenty of experience in 39-year old defender Leanne Ross and 33-year old midfielder Leanne Crichton in the spine of the team.
Which players have the club signed this summer and can use from the quarter-finals?
Glasgow have added US-born striker Krystyna Freda on loan from the Cypriot champions Apollon to bolster their team in Spain – Freda has scored an eye-watering 245 goals in three seasons in Cyprus. With Docherty departed, they have enlisted 30-year old American full-back Zaneta Wyne, who spent a season with Sunderland in the WSL, from Norwegian side Klepp IL. However, their most notable capture has been South African captain and defender Janine van Wyk from Fortuna Hjørring.
Scott Booth is best remembered for his seven years as a striker at Aberdeen before a two-year stint at Borussia Dortmund – he was a member of Scotland’s Euro 96 and 1998 World Cup squads. Booth began his coaching career with Scotland’s under-15 and under-16 teams before spending a year as manager of Stenhousemuir from 2014-15. He joined Glasgow City in the summer of 2015. The emergence of Celtic and Rangers as professional clubs will provide his first stern managerial test domestically.
Ross, who turned 39 in July, is the only member of the Glasgow City squad to have played in each of their 13 consecutive title-winning seasons. With 133 caps for Scotland, Ross has a wealth of experience and has played in just about every outfield position, scoring over 250 goals for her club in the process – despite rarely playing as a striker. She often plays at centre-half nowadays and her delivery from dead balls is consistently excellent.
Did you know?
Goalkeeper Lee Alexander endured one of the most heartbreaking moments of last summer’s World Cup when she saved a stoppage-time penalty against Argentina in the group stages to preserve a 3-2 lead for Scotland. The save would have guaranteed Scotland’s progression into the knockout rounds; however, a retake was ordered by VAR due to a harsh interpretation of the encroachment rule. Argentina scored and Scotland went out.
Which player could surprise everyone in Spain?
With 170 caps for South Africa, 33-year old Van Wyk is not an unknown quantity, but this will be her Champions League debut having spent the majority of her career in her native South Africa. Holding together a defence under attack from Pernille Harder and co will be one of the toughest challenges of her career.
What is the realistic aim for Glasgow City in the WCL?
They stand very little chance of progressing past the quarter-final, with only the size of the defeat against Wolfsburg in question. Privately, Glasgow would probably consider limiting the Germans to a two-goal margin of victory an achievement.
This is Glasgow City’s second quarter-final appearance, their best ever performance in the competition. In 2015, they were beaten 7-0 on aggregate by Paris Saint-Germain.