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Aberdeen Women met their own expectations with win at Hamilton, says co-boss Emma Hunter

Aberdeen Women co-manager Emma Hunter..
Aberdeen Women co-manager Emma Hunter..

Aberdeen Women co-boss Emma Hunter is delighted to have picked up three points at Hamilton, but insists that she hasn’t got caught up in the excitement as it was a game she expected her players to win.

Hunter believes that her side’s 2-1 win against Hamilton was vital, as anything less than a win wouldn’t have reflected the standard the Dons have set themselves.

Throughout the course of the season, the co-manager has made clear that Aberdeen must beat teams in and around them if they are to be successful in the top flight. Going into the game the Dons were second bottom, with Hamilton at the foot of the table.

The co-manager said: “I think as a coach, I’m never overly buzzing, I’m always just thinking like we’ve done that, what’s next and let’s try and improve.

“I’m obviously happy we can go into the break and delighted to get the result at Hamilton.

“If I’m perfectly honest, that’s what the expectation was – to win. We set our standards high, so we’re pleased with it, but it’s what we want to be doing and we expected ourselves to bring those three points back to Aberdeen.”

Moving on up

It was a much-needed three points for the Dons, having been on a difficult run of defeats in recent fixtures.

The win puts Aberdeen on 10 points and up to fifth in the league – where they will stay going into the new year unless Hearts pick up shock points in tonight’s derby against Hibs at Tynecastle.

But, despite Aberdeen being in control at Hamilton for the 90 minutes, there was a nervy finish to the game as Accies pulled a goal back only 10 minutes from time and continued to pile on the pressure until the final whistle.

Hunter added: “I think the relief comes when you put yourself under a bit of trouble and that’s probably typical Aberdeen in terms of our journey so far in SWPL 1, in that we made a wee mistake and we were punished for it.

“We put ourselves under pressure for the last 10 minutes of the game and, when you look at the overall performance, I don’t think we should have been in that position where we’re hanging on to try and keep the three points.

“It was a bit of a relief at the end, because we knew going into the game that a victory could catapult us back into where want to be – in the top half of the table.

“It was vitally important and that comes with pressure, but it’s an expected pressure. It’s not something unrealistic or undue expectations.

“It’s a target we set ourselves at the start of the season, and I think we handled it well on Sunday.”

Star players

Bayley Hutchison was the obvious star player for the Dons, scoring two on the day against Hamilton, putting her tally to four goals in three consecutive games.

While Hunter was impressed with the 18-year-old’s performance, she believes that there is even more the forward can do to improve her game.

She said: “Anyone who watches Bayley can see there is talent there and she does make a massive difference to us going forward and being that goal scoring threat that you need to have in SWPL 1.

“Having worked with Bayley day in, day out for a long time now, there’s still a lot more she can give and that’s something we’re continuously working on to make sure we see her go on to score two, three, or four goals in a game.

“She’s still got a lot of years to get those experiences, she knows she needs to push herself.

“While she does stand out, Bayley is the first person to say that it’s about us a team and not individual players, and there are players who work with her to give her that freedom as a forward.”

Togetherness and ambition for  players to stick together

Hutchison and the Dons’ other young players’ performances so far this season might have caught the eye at other SWPL sides.

But Hunter believes that it is a compliment to Aberdeen if their players are attracting attention, but does hope they will stay with the Dons for the foreseeable.

She explained: “It’s kind of what you want. You want your players to be sought after, because it shows the quality of what you’ve got and how much we’ve developed these young players.

“That’s what football is about – you look at the men’s game and there’s a lot of talk about Calvin Ramsay, because he’s doing so well.

“But with our group we’ve created this togetherness and I think that would make it really difficult for them to leave the club, because we’ve worked so hard as a group to get where we are now.

“It’s been a difficult journey and there’s a real ambition amongst the players to stick with it and do it together.”