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Fresh options for Caley Thistle Women as side seek to strike back from cup rout

It was a tough day for Caley Thistle Women as they lost 14-0 at Hamilton in the Scottish Women's Cup on Sunday. Photograph by Ian Steele Photography
It was a tough day for Caley Thistle Women as they lost 14-0 at Hamilton in the Scottish Women's Cup on Sunday. Photograph by Ian Steele Photography

Boss Karen Mason insists Caley Thistle can turn hurt into hunger when they return to Championship North action on Sunday.

With her squad badly affected with Covid, injuries and player unavailability last weekend, the Inverness team suffered a scorching Scottish Women’s Cup 14-0 hammering at Hamilton, who play two tiers higher in SWPL 1.

The Accies are bottom of their division, while ICT are chasing down promotion from their league in second spot when they travel to seventh-placed Grampian this weekend with a bolstered pool.

Hamilton’s reward for easing into the fourth round is a tough tie away to Glasgow City, who are second in SWPL 1, just two points behind Rangers.

The Lanarkshire rout was not the only high scoreline in the cup, with Stenhousemuir thumped 14-1 by Rangers, Hearts hitting 13 without reply at Gleniffer Thistle, Spartans winning 11-0 against Morton and Glasgow City beating Queen’s Park 9-0.

Tara McGonigle was the star of the New Douglas Park clash, scoring five times, while there were hat-tricks for Lauren Evans and Josephine Giard, with their other scorers on a punishing day for the Highlanders being Tiree Burchill, Fiona Cullie and Megan Quigley.

Main target was to fulfil cup fixture

Mason explained the build-up to Sunday’s tie was fraught with trouble and they were just happy to get the game over with, despite the punishing result.

She said: “Our main focus was to get the game played on Sunday. We had four girls who had just come out of 10 days of isolation. We only had two players on the bench and we didn’t have a training session last week because of the snow.

“It wasn’t ideal preparation in any way, but it did allow some girls to get some minutes in.

“It might have been a bit more respectable had we had a stronger team out. Hamilton are two leagues above us and they train five times a week, whereas we’re twice a week. They have internationalists, we don’t, so it was very difficult to be pitched in against them.

“It gave some of the girls a chance to experience what it might be like at that level, and of playing at New Douglas Park.

“Hamilton saw the tie as one where there was definitely no upset. They took no prisoners and every mistake we made we got punished.

“Yes, the scoreline was not flattering in any way for us, but Hamilton were ruthless. For us, it was a case of getting the 90 minutes over with and it will in no way define the rest of our season.”

Seeking second win over Grampian

In fact, the manager has been delighted this week with the attitude of her squad, many of who returned to the fold at training with a renewed sense of purpose.

She added: “At training on Tuesday, you’d never have thought we’d got thumped 14-0.

“It was all positive and really good and it shows we’re ready to bounce back. We were never going to win the cup, so we’re focused on what we can control. Three points at Grampian would show we’ve bounced back from Sunday.

“We put in a great performance against Grampian at the Caledonian Stadium (a 12-2 win in September). It was an unbelievable display on a great occasion.

“We know we can win against them. We should be winning against them, so there will be an expectation we go there on Sunday and take home three points.”

Mason should have a closer to full squad, with the main absentee being Nicola Ross, who is sidelined with injury.

 

 

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