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‘Everyone fought for each other’: Westdyke captain Emma Murray on the ‘honour’ of skippering side to promotion

The Lawsondale side secured promotion to the SWF Championship after beating Falkirk 2-0 in a winner-takes-all clash.

Westdyke captain Emma Murray pictured at the club's training ground in Westhill
Westdyke captain Emma Murray. Image: Chris Sumner/DC Thomson.

Westdyke are preparing for life in the SWF Championship after pipping Falkirk to promotion.

The Westhill side competed in the inaugural fourth tier after the SWF league restructure and rarely faltered as they sat amongst the top three for most of the campaign.

Their final game was teed up for an exciting finish as third-placed Westdyke travelled to second-placed Falkirk with only a point separating the sides.

Only a win was going to be enough for Jonathan Watt’s side and they completed their objective with a 2-0 win against Bairns 2-0 to leapfrog them and secure promotion.

Falkirk missed a 27th-minute penalty which came back to haunt them as Chloe Ferries gave Westdyke the lead ten minutes later.

Westdyke could already see the Championship in their sights, but their place in the third tier became even more of a reality in the 74th minute when Kayleigh Traynor scored her 35th goal of the season to make it 2-0.

Ahead of the winner-takes-all clash, there were some understandable nerves as Westdyke made the near three-hour journey down from Westhill to Falkirk.

For Westdyke captain Emma Murray, those nerves became motivation as the Westhill side put on a performance worthy of promotion after crossing that white line.

“There was a nervous but exciting feeling,” said Murray.

“On the way down we said ‘it’s another 90-minute game’ and if we gave it everything then we’ll get the result.

“We did that and it was well-deserved. It wasn’t the easiest game, but we dominated and defended well when we had to. Everyone just fought for each other.

“When the first goal went in, I think we all just relaxed and gave a sigh of relief. We knew we just had to keep doing what we were doing.”

Promotion to Championship an ‘amazing’ achievement

If Murray was to sum up the “scenes” at full-time it would be complete elation. Promotion, she feels, was the deserved icing on the cake after an impressive season.

“It was unreal,” said Murray. “We all felt over the course of the season that we deserved it so much – we just wanted it so bad.

“The scenes at the end of the game in the changing room were amazing.

“We had some of our supporters there and credit to them for coming down all that way to cheer us on. It was just amazing.”

Emma Murray in action for Westdyke. Image: Sportpix for SWF.

The Westdyke skipper has been at the club since 2019 after leaving Aberdeen and with Covid-19 hampering her early days in blue and white stripes, this has been her most enjoyable season.

“It’s been an honour to be captain,” said Murray. “I know most people would say that, but it really has been.

“Through all the highs and the couple of lows – it’s just been such a good season. We’ve pushed the team forward and they’re a great bunch of girls to be the captain of.

“I might have the armband, but there are so many leaders on the pitch.

“The girls deserve so much credit for what they’ve done this season.”

Next season Westdyke will make the step up to the SWF Championship as over its debut campaign, the national third tier has proven to be one of, if not the most competitive division of women’s football in Scotland.

Murray knows it will be challenge, but one to be embraced not feared.

“We’ve tested ourselves against teams in the leagues above us before,” said Murray. “In the League Cup and Scottish Cup we did well in those games.

“We took Kilmarnock, a SWPL 2 team, all the way to extra-time and they just scored the one goal against us.

“Ayr (who play in the Championship) had to play really well to get past us because we defended so well. They only beat us 2-0, but at the same time we should’ve taken our own chances.

“They are the games you want to be involved in.

“You want to be constantly challenged because it’s those games that help you improve as a player and as a team.

“It’s going to be an exciting challenge and one we’re all looking forward to.”