Partick Thistle manager Brian Graham deserves a lot of credit for guiding the Jags to the SWPL Cup final.
They will face Rangers at Tynecastle in March in what will be a first cup final in 53 years for the Partick Thistle women’s team.
They caused a shock in the semi-final by beating full-time Hibernian and they now have a huge game to look forward to against the Gers.
Graham, who is still playing on a regular basis for Partick’s men’s team, was due to play against Arbroath on the same date as the cup final.
Thankfully the final has been moved a day later from the Saturday to Sunday March 24 to avoid a fixture clash for Graham and the Partick Thistle fans who may want to attend both games.
That was a good decision.
There were reports that some of the part-time Partick Thistle players work on a Saturday so they were obviously keen to play on the Sunday.
The great thing is they have made the change very quickly and everyone seems to be happy.
It makes sense to play the women’s game on the Sunday as traditionally the games are played on a Sunday and it fits with the normal preparation of players.
As a player you would probably prefer to have that consistency.
Brian, at the age of 36, is coming towards the end of his playing career and gaining great coaching experience with the Partick women’s team.
I think this could be something that becomes more common in the future for other male professionals.
He is setting a really good example. I’m sure some people were sceptical when he thought he would be able to balance his playing commitments for the men’s team with leading the women’s team.
He has shown it can be done.
I watched an interview with him last week and he clearly buys into the ‘one club’ ethos. He is really passionate about Partick Thistle and he has helped become the link between the men’s team and the women’s team as well as to the fans and the board.
It is really powerful as at many clubs the two teams can be very separate, especially if they are training and playing at different facilities.
He is doing a really good job as they are comfortably in the top half of the SWPL and they have a cup final to look forward to.
Partick will go into the final as big underdogs which is the perfect narrative for the team and Brian. He will probably thrive on that as a lot of people will anticipate a very one-sided contest.
It will be very difficult as Rangers have been by far the best performing team this season.
Jo Potter is another manager who has done a very good job at Rangers. She has brought standards up across the board with everything from the level of tactical detail, fitness levels, discipline and nutrition.
The players have consistently spoken about how high the standards are and that is showing on the park.
They are top of the SWPL and it looks like it’s going to take a lot to derail them.
When they went to play Caley Thistle in the Scottish Cup, some people may have assumed they would take their foot off the gas a little.
But there was no let-up and they scored 12 goals without reply and then followed it up with a 10-0 win against Dundee United.
Tough task for the Dons
Aberdeen Women are next up to try to stop Rangers Women – and it’s going to be very difficult for Clint Lancaster’s side.
There is no expectation on Aberdeen to get anything from the game but there is a responsibility to be organised, disciplined and make it as competitive as possible.
Aberdeen did reasonably well when they were up against Rangers last time. It was 1-1 at half time and although they lost 5-1 in the end, I’m sure they took a lot of positives from that game.
They have important games coming up against the teams around about them in the league so what they don’t want from this weekend is a morale-sapping defeat.
But Rangers also seem to be evolving quickly so the task will be even harder for Aberdeen this weekend.
One player who Aberdeen will have to watch out for is Jane Ross, who has been speaking about her hopes of getting back into the Scotland team.
She was out injured for a long time but she is back playing very well for Rangers – and I would love to see her add to her 146 caps.
When I think about the people I have played alongside in my career, she is right up there as one of the top professionals.
She actually hasn’t had many injuries during her career but she suffered a cruciate ligament injury and was out for twice as long as is normally the case.
After a long and challenging 17 months out, she is back playing very well and it’s great to see her back.
She has made a huge contribution to the national team over the years and hopefully she gets that opportunity again in the future.