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It’s a Really Exciting Year for the Women’s Side

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Chloe Craig

Vice-captain Chloe Craig has been at the club for a decade, but says this season is the most exciting yet.

 The Celtic stalwart says the Christmas period wasn’t too indulgent with preseason looming over them, but with having kept fitness levels up since the end of the season last November, returning to business on 3 January wasn’t too much of an issue.

With the strides Celtic are taking in the women’s game and the demands put on themselves, the centre-half is ready to embrace the new campaign and rise to the challenges manager Eddie Wolecki Black has set them.

“It’s a really exciting year for the women’s side. We’ve never had someone in that’s been so involved in wanting to push the club to do something better and wanting us to succeed, so it’s a good opportunity for us to prove ourselves as a club,” the defender admitted.

And the turn of the tide carries even more weight for Craig on a personal level. Having supported the club from her childhood and witnessed the growth of the women’s game from inside its boundaries, the changes hit close to home.

“With me being a Celtic supporter, this is one of the most exciting years I’ve had. Especially if we can come in together and train in the mornings and at night - it just gives that boost and pride to play for a club like Celtic,” she explained.

Already the 25-year-old is feeling the manager’s influence in his first pre-season, following a personal invitation to the boss from tournament organisers Turbine Potsdam for a trip usually exclusive to Glasgow City and Champions League teams.

“I think it will be really good,” she enthused of the Hallen Cup.

“We were a wee bit blown away by it when he said because it’s usually a competition for Glasgow City, who have been in the Champions League and won leagues, but it will be good for us to test ourselves against these teams and give us a taste of what we need to be in order to get into and compete in the Champions League.

“Eddie is a great coach and manager who knows what he’s talking about, and he has his contacts, so its good for him to put himself out there to get us to where we want to be.”

Craig has previously enjoyed periods in the Scotland first team and youth setups and explained that seeing Scotland gear up for this year’s World Cup not only boosts the domestic game, but makes her want to raise her own game.

“It’s such an exciting year for women’s football in general. It’s the first time we’ve qualified for this round in the World Cup so it’s a great honour to say you have played for and in Scotland, and because you have had so many team-mates that are in that Scotland squad just now, you look at them and think, ‘they’re doing that, and I want to do this.’

“It makes you want to improve and get yourself there, and for the young ones you always see them at Scotland games and see how happy they are and how much they look up to the players in the national team,” she explains.

And she is hoping the growing interest and support for the national side can translate into the Scottish Building Society SWPL 1.

“It is great - hopefully there’s more support and it continues,” she added.

Celtic travel to Germany on 23 January for a friendly against Turbine Potsdam and will compete in the Hallen Cup. Follow the action on Twitter by following @celticfcwomen.


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