Kelly won the league at K-Park

Kelly won the league, Kelly won the league, Kelly won the league at K-Park . . . OK, it doesn’t roll off the tongue like ‘Scott Brown won the league at Rugby Park,’ but the Celtic FC Women’s captain scored the winner against Glasgow City FC Women’s team 2-1 on Friday.

I think I’ve seen this movie before: The team captain, a midfielder, painfully late in the game on a corner kick that goes amiss, rams home the winning goal with seconds left to spare in injury time.

Scott Brown winning the league at Rugby Park?

No, Kelly Clark winning the inaugural pro game for Celtic FC Women at K-Park, in less than ideal playing conditions on Friday night to give the Hoops the opener, and new coach Fran Alonso his first win at the helm.

Also noteworthy: Clark didn’t get a red card for celebrating.

There’s probably a song in there somewhere for Clark, but the Ghirls in Green, facing a tenacious Glasgow City FC team and an even more tenacious rain, prevailed in horrendous conditions 2-1 to start the season.

Thank you, Celtic TV, for carrying the game, even though Tom Boyd seemed a little subdued for the course of the game — I get it, Tom: The weather was awful. And in a game that was very well played by both sides and with a draw all but certain, the never-say-die ghirls pulled it out in breathtaking fashion.

American midfielder Sarah Teegarden came close to scoring at 26 minutes after a pass from Sarah Ewens, but the shot went wide. Teegarden also nearly scored again later close to the 40-minute mark after a pass from her compatriot Summer Green, but her shot again went wide.

Glasgow City FC’s opened the scoring just after the start of the second half when Clare Shine scored on a corner that the Hoops were unable to clear. However, nearly three minutes later, Ewens equialized for Celtic with a stunner that ended up in the top left corner of the net.

Here’s hoping the ghirls build on this victory. Next for the Celtic FC Women is at Ainslie Park Stadium for an away game against Spartans FC on March 1. Hopefully, the game will be bit drier than it was Friday evening.

Game-day rituals: Yours, mine and ours

A quick post while we await the start of the match against Hearts at Paradise: I know everyone probably has their own game-day rituals, some perhaps more elaborate than others, and I wanted to share mine before actually starting them for today’s game.

So, every morning before game time, I go out on the terrace, face the forest, and sing ‘Celtic Symphony.’ Not really. But I wish I could.

Personally, I have two, depending on whether I am working during the game or not. While I do my best to clear my schedule for the night games in Scotland — weekend games are no problem, as they start in what you would call the “wee hours” prior to sunrise — there are times when I have to work at either my part-time job as a bookkeeper at a local supermarket or as a freelance documentation specialist for computer hardware and software, which puts me at the beck-and-call of tech heads and engineers at several Silicon Valley firms.

First, fortunately I have this innate ability to wake up at 3:45 a.m. every morning, weekends especially, at which time on game days I will wash up, get dressed, don my Celtic jersey, put on my Celtic scarf, sing sotto voce either the Celtic Song (home game) or Celtic Symphony (away — “we’re on the road again”), and make my way to the computer, boot it up, plug in the headphones and log in to Celtic TV.

Shameless and unsolicited promotion: I love Celtic TV, and I would suggest anyone who absolutely, positively needs to watch Celtic games — and watch the games more than once, as I often do — to get a subscription. It’s reasonably priced at around US$25 a month (you can buy the entire season for around US$200, I think). The analysis is good, the play-by-play is adequate (the puns mostly hit, and the occasional Monty Python references are always welcome), and Celtic TV gets high marks for breaking the gender barrier by having Celtic FC Women’s captain Kelly Clark doing pre-game/halftime/post-game commentary. To her credit, Clark is more than just a token addition: She displays a deep understanding of the game that rivals, if not surpasses, her male broadcasting counterparts.

Meanwhile, back at the original topic . . .

Second, if I have an attend-or-die meeting in the Silicon Valley or have to go in to count money at the supermarket, I don my white Oxford shirt and wear a green sweater — Larry’s green and white — and take my scarf and my tablet with me; ever the professional. I have had a few engineers watching the games with me while I write or edit their manuals, and I am hoping this low-key evangelism will convert some in the tech arena to the Celtic faithful.

On the rare occurrence I am able to make it up to the San Francisco CSC at Fiddler’s Green in Millbrae (just south of the city), it’s the jersey, scarf, and excellent company with the lads up there in suburban San Francisco. One personal highlight: I watched the Billy McNeill game up there last season, which was completely magical in both the result and the camaraderie at the pub. Excellent group, those SF CSCers!

Enough about me. What are your game-day rituals? Feel free to post them in the comments.

Oh, and today’s game? Clean sheet, Griff (2) and Eddy score, 3-0 Hoops.

Buffalo gals, won’t you come out tonight?

Americans Summer Green and Sarah Teegarden join the Celtic FC Women.

While a lot of the focus on “who will Celtic sign” is aimed primarily on the men’s team at the moment, the newly professional Celtic FC Women have been hard at work, signing players and a new coach.

Not only is the focus on quality players local, Celtic FC Women have been looking abroad as well, and the squad is bolstered by two American stars, Summer Green and Sarah Teegarden.

I wish they all could be California ghirls: Born in Arcadia and raised in nearby Monrovia in Southern California, Sarah Teegarden grew up a star in the area as a player for Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, before a stellar college career at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. She was captain for two years while starting all 75 games she played for the Demon Deacons, logging a total of 6,648 career minutes on the pitch.

Teegarden sandwiched a short stop with the North Carolina Courage of the National Women’s Soccer League in 2018 between a stint with Gotenborg FC women in 2017, where she spent most of her European playing time, and Lille OSC in 2019.

Summer Green, a forward, graduated a year early from high school in Michigan in order to start her college soccer career at the University of North Carolina (incidentally, a rival of Teegarden’s alma mater, Wake Forest). A mainstay in the USA teams at the U-17, U-20, and U-23 levels, Green has the distinction of setting a record of 12 goals in five games during the CONACAF qualifications as a U-17 player in 2012; a feat that included three hat-tricks during the tournament.

After being drafted in 2016 by the Seattle Reign in the NWSL, Green sat out the season due to an injury she picked up in the NCAA college tournament. She was traded to the Chicago Red Stars for a draft pick the following season, and played for Chicago before moving to Vittsjo in Sweden in 2019.

It’s great that both Teegarden and Green bolster an already strong Celtic Ghirls squad, joining new signees Chloe Logan, Keeva Keenan, Chloe Craig, Sarah Ewens and Natalie Ross, all of whom have agreed to new professional contracts with the club, along with new head coach Fran Alonso.