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Alonso looks ahead to semi-final battle

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By Colette Carr

Fran Alonso says to reach a cup final with this group would “mean the world to him” in just his second term at the helm at Celtic, but he’s under no illusions as to how difficult the task will be on Sunday, as they meet the SWPL Cup holders Hibs in the semi-finals. 

Alonso’s side will take to the Forthbank Stadium on Sunday in a richly-deserved reward for a brilliant 1-0 quarter-final win over rivals Rangers to book their place in the semi-finals. And despite a disappointing result at the weekend, the manager says it’s full steam ahead as they vye for their slot in the first final of the season. 

“Our full focus is on our game on Sunday. It’s an opportunity to get into a final and we can’t be too tough on ourselves. Until last Sunday we were 25 games unbeaten domestically so we can keep that belief. It’s very important to move and the girls are up for a good week of training ahead of a massively important game,” he told the press. 

Standing in their way of the final at Firhill next month are the reigning champions of the competition, and holders since 2016. The Edinburgh-side have built a notorious reputation in the competition, beating out Glasgow City and Celtic in their impressive run, and while Alonso knows they can take confidence from their successful past, he hopes his squad can buck the trend. 

He said: “Hibs are used to getting to finals but we were confident and if we can play at our best we are giving ourselves the chance to get into the final.

“In the league game we won it in the 93rd minute and while we controlled most of the game there wasn’t much between the two. They’re good in this competition too and they will be up for it, but I trust my team and if we can stick to our game-plan we have a good chance. I am confident, but we know it won’t be easy.”

Cup competitions were put on pause not long after Alonso’s arrival in Glasgow, with numerous league suspensions and lockdowns meaning the League and Scottish Cups having to give way to a busy league calendar in order to fulfil the season. And having the opportunity of more silverware available is a privilege the boss isn’t taking lightly, and while knowing how special reaching the final would be, he is taking it one game at a time. 

“It would mean the world. It’s about growing as a team and to be able to get to a final together would be another achievement. I really want that, and then if we could win silverware that’d be amazing and would be a success itself for the season. But to do that, we have to beat the best in the country, so nothing will be easy but it could be very special. But it’s not right to talk about the final yet when we have a very difficult game against the Champions on Sunday,” he said.


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