Aberdeen Women host Motherwell at Balmoral Stadium, and co-boss Gavin Beith says their current form has them full of confidence ahead of the SWPL 1 clash.
The Dons come into this weekend’s fixture having won four games on the bounce including impressive home wins against Hibs and Spartans.
However, it has been a fortnight since Aberdeen last played as last weekend’s game against Glasgow City was postponed because of international fixtures.
And while a two week break is not ideal for a side that has built up momentum, it allowed Beith and Emma Hunter to sit down with the players and review their season.
Beith says they had a lengthy conversation with the squad to discuss their thoughts on life in the top flight so far – with the general consensus being positive.
“We’re well aware that there have been some really good parts, but some bad and really ugly parts,” Beith said.
“If we had said at the start of the season that we’d be in the position we’re in and with 16 points, then we’d be happy with that.
“We’ve been competitive, but we know we’ve left one or two points out there.
“But by the same token there have been one or two games where we’ve picked up points that on the day could have gone the other way.
“We’re happy enough where we’re at, especially with the last four games.
“It’s probably taken a bit longer to find our feet in SWPL 1 than we would have hoped for.
“We started the season well then went on that six-game run without a win which was tough to take, but that’s where the learning has come from.”
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One of the main takeaways from their discussion was the improved mindset of the players and how that is starting pay dividends on the pitch with good results.
Beith added: “We’ve got through that tough run, and the girls believe in themselves and you can see that with the confidence they have on the pitch.
“They’re enjoying their football and that’s brought us some really good wins – we are taking points off well established SWPL 1 teams.
“We’re happy with where we’re at, but there are areas to improve on and that’s our focus for the remainder of the season.”
An opportunity to extend the unbeaten run
Last time out against Motherwell the Reds came into the game on a five-game run of defeats.
That is a stark contrast to this weekend as Aberdeen will be looking to win their fifth consecutive game when they host Paul Brownlie’s side.
The Dons co-boss knows that their unbeaten run and the chance to extend it has only helped improve the faith that the players have in themselves ahead of the clash.
Beith said: “It helps the players massively because having that belief and confidence is so important.
“The girls believe they can do it, and know they can too because we are on this winning run.
“But they still need to turn up and perform and do really well, but the difference is they don’t go in with any fear.”
The co-boss reckons that no matter the performance against Motherwell this weekend it can’t be any worse than the reverse fixture.
The women of Steel beat Aberdeen 4-3 back in November, with that game being all but over in the 12th minute as Motherwell were already 3-0 up.
However, Beith says that being able to recognise that disappointment and wanting to do better is another sign of his players’ improved attitude.
“One of the biggest disappointments of our season so far that we noted was probably Motherwell. As a group we let ourselves down and were really poor,” Beith explained.
“It was very unorganised and not an Aberdeen-like performance. It’s still something that’s in our minds, and that’s coming from the players.
“That’s a real sign of progress too where they can recognise they weren’t good enough last time.”
A mid-table finish in sight?
A win against Motherwell could see Aberdeen consolidate their mid-table position as they would overtake their matchday opponents and move up one place to fifth.
It would be an invaluable three points, but Beith says that the Dons won’t get be getting ahead of themselves just yet and knows that SWPL 1 league standings are always subject to change.
He added: “We’re always looking to be as high as we can in the table and getting points on the board, but at the same time you can lose two or three games and be right down the bottom.
“The league is so tight, so it’s something we don’t put too much of a focus on.
“What will happen will happen, and if we continue to perform the way we have recently then we can certainly climb that table.
“But you have to safeguard that complacency because if you look too far ahead you can lose sight of what you’re going to come up against and come unstuck.”