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Title-winning Aberdeen FC Women keen to push ‘one club’ mantra as part of Dons family

Emma Hunter.
Emma Hunter.

“What we’re trying to get is integration with the men’s first-team; that it’s one club, one family.”

Emma Hunter is clear in her aims. As co-manager of Aberdeen FC Women, alongside Harley Hamdani, the two have spearheaded an all-conquering Dons side in the third tier of Scottish women’s football.

Victory against Dunfermline at Aberdeen Sports Village on Sunday will see them finish the SWFL Division 1 North season unbeaten. The title has already been secured, with 133 goals in the bag and youth internationals in their ranks.

They will lift the title tomorrow, just a couple of hours after the men’s side finish their Premiership fixture with Celtic at Pittodrie, little over five minutes from ASV.

Hunter hopes success for a Dons side attracts supporters through the gate, with their ambition showing little signs of waning.

She said: “We need people to take a chance, come along and watch. If they enjoy it then hopefully they come back.

The Dons are already SWFL Division 1 North champions.

“People that come to watch the men’s team can hopefully then come to support us, as we’re one club. It would be nice to see a few new faces, particularly next year with some of the quality teams in the league.

“Sunday is the chance to get a bit of a home crowd and give the players a send-off in the league. You want to finish off on a high and lift the trophy.

“We hope fans will come down after the Celtic game; we want to show them what we’re about and how we’ve progressed. That’s important to us.”

The team was integrated within Aberdeen FC after Aberdeen Ladies’ relegation last season. Hunter and Hamdani were appointed with the sole aim of getting promoted and that task has been achieved comprehensively.

They rattled 10 past Dunfermline on Thursday night, to go with the 11 put past Raith Rovers and Montrose, with Deveronvale and Kelty Hearts both hit for eight.

Francesca Ogilvie and Eilidh Shore have been called into Pauline Hamill’s Scotland under-19 squad, with Ogilvie scoring her first goal against Northern Ireland in August. Bailey Hutchison is a regular at under-17 level, despite only turning 16 this month.

Hunter added: “Playing for their country is so important for these players. It develops them as people and players and we will continue to push them to keep them part of the Scotland setup.

“We’ve got players from under-19s to under-16s, which shows the amount of youth players we have. They are putting in performances and scoring goals as well.”

Emma Hunter (far left) and Harley Hamdani (far right) were appointed co-managers when the team became part of Aberdeen FC.

Their youthful side has its best years ahead of them, a potential that excites Hunter. If they are able to retain the bulk of their players, which has proved problematic in the past, then their hopes of challenging in the upper echelons of SWPL could become reality.

Hunter said: “Everyone at the club wants to aim to get in the Premier League. That might take a bit of time and we have to be realistic. We have got a young squad and we’ve intentionally done that; we wanted players with real potential and we hope to develop them as a group of players, so when we get to the Premier League, we are fighting (at the top), not just part of it.

“It’s really important that we can keep them in Aberdeen. Something in the past that happened with regularity was players moved down south, for education or to play for other teams. You can go back as far as Rachel McLauchlan and Rachael Boyle for that happening.

“We need to give them the incentive to get their education and play football up here, as part of a team that stays in the Premier League.”