Glasgow City chief executive Laura Montgomery says her team’s title win ranks as one of the best after they sealed the trophy on a dramatic final day.
City went into the last round of fixtures as one of three teams who could potentially top the table, along with Rangers and Celtic. The fixture list added more tension as City travelled to Ibrox for a decisive game, while Celtic hosted Hearts.
The trophy looked destined for Glasgow’s east end as Celtic moved to a 2-0 lead against Hearts but a dramatic injury time goal for City at Ibrox saw them snatch victory at the last.
It means City have now been league champions in 14 of the last 15 league seasons and Montgomery, who is a co-founder of the club who played and captained City before moving into the chief executive role, says this one is something special.
“The very first title you win is always amazing but I think this one probably ranks the highest, certainly for me as I’m no longer playing,” she told STV. “It’s been the toughest with the competition and more eyes on the game and pressure to win.
“This is definitely my favourite.
“It’s been the most hotly contested season we’ve ever had. There’s been so many teams competing for the trophy, taking points off each other.
“To go to the last game where three teams can win it and virtually it’s won with about two minutes late is the drama that probably my heart didn’t want but for the neutral it’s been a dramatic season.
“For us to do it away from home at Ibrox, in front of a much larger crowd. Our fans were great and came in numbers but to do it away from home when probably everyone thought that it might potentially go against us was just fantastic.”
The progress made by Celtic and Rangers in recent years has intensified competition and brought more attention to the women’s game, with Rangers winning the title last season and going close to a successful defence. Montgomery welcome the challengers to City’s recent domination of the domestic game and is happy to see how her club has responded.
“They’re both fantastic teams,” she said. “They’ve given us a huge run for our money. We had obviously had a long run of titles for many, many years and Rangers won it last year.
“A lot of people might have thought that we might struggle to compete again and we’ve not. We’ve come straight back and reclaimed our title so it does feel quite sweet.
“Last season was the first in 15 that we didn’t win the trophy but we didn’t have an absolutely disastrous season. We didn’t win a trophy, which is not like us because we tend to win things, but we still came second and got into Europe.
“This year the aim was just to get back to winning the title. It has been a long, hard season. It’s the most games we’ve ever played, the most times the top teams have played each other with the way the league has been structured.
“It’s been the toughest season but probably the best victory we’ve had.
“The players really stepped up when the pressure counted so I’m delighted.”
Title is reward for Leanne Ross’ hard work
The title win was a first with former City player Leanne Ross in the dugout after she stepped up to the top job when Eileen Gleeson stepped down as head coach in December last year.
Ross played for City for 14 years and was a popular appointment after a spell as interim coach and Montgomery said she was always seen as having the potential to succeed in the leadership role.
“Leanne is synonymous with our club,” Montgomery said. “She was obviously a player here for most of her career. She’s the most decorated Scottish player domestically ever so she’s got a great pedigree.
“I think we always knew when Leanne was a player that she was going to be an excellent coach. Her transition from assistant into head coach was never going to be in doubt for us. It was probably more about convincing her that it was best for her at the start.
“Leanne has done superbly. She’s absolutely galvanised the squad and I can see so clearly how much the players respect her and look up to her. She’s made them such a cohesive, good unit.
“We felt in our heart of hearts that she was going to be right for the job. Obviously it is a brave move, she is a young coach but she knows the game really well. She’s not that long from being a player and still has that connection with the dressing room.
“She’s worked really hard and really diligently and she’s an excellent coach. That’s emphasised by the fact we’re not the only ones who have her: Scotland have her as part of the coaching staff as well.
“Leanne has done incredibly well under huge pressure to win this and I’m just delighted for her.”
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