Celtic secured an emphatic win over arch rivals Rangers on Wednesday as Mariah Lee netted on the big stage in Parkhead.
The Old Firm derby was an ideal opportunity for the Blue side of Glasgow to close the gap on current league leaders Glasgow City. However, a sloppy passage of play from the Gers gifted Celtic their way through.
Chloe Warrington capitalised on the mistake and curled a stunning long ball in to Lee, who was already thundering towards goal. The 24-year-old rounded the goalkeeper and scooped up all three points for the Ghirls with a cool and composed finish.
“The Celtic vs Rangers rivalry is huge so we are definitely still celebrating,” the Washington-born striker said.
Following the win at Celtic Park, Lee commented on how important it is for the club to continue to provide opportunities to play on the men’s stadium and how it impacts the women’s team.
“I think it’s awesome that we can play in the same stadium as the men and that we have the TV contracts to be able to have it broadcasted,” she said. “I think it’s a huge message [from Celtic] saying that ‘we value you, we value women’s soccer and the entertainment that it brings.”
Indeed, Celtic are just one of the many clubs pushing to give their women’s side more time in the spotlight. The SWPL will also benefit from having live matches shown on BBC Alba, who recently announced a record breaking broadcast deal which will run for the remainder of the 2020/21 season.
“I wasn’t really nervous, I’m used to having to come in and makes things happen, so I had confidence that I could do what I do best,” Lee said on her goal in Parkhead. “I felt lucky to play at Celtic Park and I really wanted to take advantage of that opportunity.”
An unexpected title challenge
Thanks to Celtic’s win over Rangers, the gap between the Hoops and the leading two teams has closed dramatically. Glasgow City lead the pack with 30 points, followed by the Gers (27) and the Hoops (25). Lee has stressed that the emphatic victory at Celtic Park has put her side right back into the running.
“Some people have talked about it just being between Glasgow City and Rangers and I think we showed [on Wednesday] that we’re in the competition and we’re in the thick of it and that we can win the league. We shouldn’t be out of the conversation.”
Fran Alonso’s side are back in action this afternoon as they play host to Hibernian. Another three points will be firmly in Celtic’s sights as Rangers and Glasgow City prepare to take on Forfar Farmington and Hearts respectively.