It might not have been the result Aberdeen Women were hoping for, but this evening’s clash against Rangers was another significant step in the club’s journey.
The 2-0 defeat was the first time the women’s team have played at Pittodrie and the home side were cheered on by almost 2,000 fans.
Before kick-off there was a buzz around the ground as 1,894 supporters flooded into the ground to lend their support to Emma Hunter and Gavin Beith’s side.
With the game boasting a record-crowd for an Aberdeen Women game, some were watching the women’s team play for the very first time.
Catherine, a mum of four who took her kids – including three daughters – along to Pittodrie said: “It’s really, really exciting and a fantastic opportunity.
“We’re season ticket holders here at Pittodrie, but tonight just feels a little bit different and a little extra special.
“It’s absolutely vital we come out to support the women – they deserve just as much support as the fellas do.”
While one young fan was at the stadium to watch her first ever women’s football game.
Molly, aged 7, added: “It’s really exciting. I’ve never been to a girls football game before.”
It was also a landmark moment for those in Red on the pitch too, with most of the players being part of the club’s route back to the Scottish top-flight, having won consecutive promotions since 2019.
A solid defensive showing for the Dons
But against Rangers it was always going to be a tough ask for the Dons, as they came up against a professional side who have only dropped two points all season.
Aberdeen had to put in a defensive shift in the first half, and reaped their reward as the the second half started with the sides level at 0-0.
However, Kirsty Howat gave Rangers the lead with a close range effort just after the hour mark, before Kayla McCoy netted their second 15 minutes later.
As expected, the away side dominated the ball in the opening stages of the game, but created nothing that the Dons couldn’t handle – with Jess Broadrick coping especially well up against Brogan Hay down the left flank.
The first real chance did fall to Rangers as Hay hit a shot just outside the box, but Aaliyah-Jay Meach reacted well and got down at her near post to make the save.
Aberdeen’s top goal scorer Bayley Hutchison then looked to add to her SWPL 1 tally early doors, trying her luck with a well-hit shot from 20 yards out.
And although her effort dipped just over the bar, the crowd were in full voice as ‘Come on you Reds’ rung around the stadium.
As the first half neared its end, it was wave after wave of attack from the ‘Gers, and they almost took the lead from a corner, but Janni Jensen’s header ricocheted off the woodwork.
However, Jenna Fife was then called into action for the first time as Bailley Collins sent in a dangerous cross from the right hand side that had to be cut out by the Scotland keeper before it met the head of Louise Brown.
A ‘Gers second-half double
Rangers looked lively from the restart and should have taken a lead when Sam Kerr unleashed a dangerous shot from inside a crowded Dons box, but to Aberdeen’s relief it bounced off the underside of the crossbar.
However, the away side didn’t have to wait long for a goal as Jane Ross’s initial effort was deflected and bundled into the goal from just a couple yards out by Howat in the 61st minute.
And just after Hutchison registered the Don’s first shot of the second half, Rangers went down the other end and doubled their advantage in the 75th minute as McCoy rounded Meach and slotted the ball into an empty net.
Although the result didn’t go their way, it was an impressive display from the Dons on a a historic night.