RANGERS Ladies are gearing up for the second half of the women’s domestic season and the Bluebelles will face-off against Stirling University this afternoon at home in the SSE Scottish Women’s Cup third round.

Head coach Amy McDonald has been working tirelessly with her team over the mid-season break to get them ready for the remainder of the season.

Speaking about the unique challenges in the women’s game, she said: “It can be hard because people need to go on holiday or get time off their work and it’s not always at the ideal time. However, there is a really good competitiveness about the squad and a feeling of unity. Everyone appears to be very positive about the direction we’re taking the squad.”

During the break, the 2017 European Championships took place and it was the first time that Scotland participated in the tournament.

Unfortunately, the Scots were eliminated in the group stage, however, McDonald was over at the tournament and hopes it can be the start of a boom in the women’s game.

“It was a fantastic experience being there,” she said. “The whole thing was very well organised even down to the transport system in the Netherlands. Hopefully now it inspires more young girls and women to pick up the game.”

The big news for Rangers over the break was the departure of Lisa Swanson who left after 10 years at the club to go and play professionally in Finland. The manager paid homage to a true legend of the ladies team and the club.

She said: “For someone who had just been given such a great opportunity she seemed really sad about the situation. Swanny is unique in the women’s game because she was so loyal and she had been at the club for so many years. She is Rangers through and through. We have told her it’s an open door policy and hopefully she will be back one day.”

The UEFA Under-19s Championship has also been played in the last few weeks in Northern Ireland and Rangers are represented through midfielder Claire Adams and forward Chantelle Brown.

Adams impressed through the first half of the season, notably scoring a stunning last-minute winner against Aberdeen.

Brown spent the first half of the season recovering from injury but she was Rangers’ top scorer in the 2016 season.

The team will also be bolstered by the return of Holly Napier to the squad. Holly is returning from injury and is raring to go and pull on that famous blue jersey again.

She said: “It’s felt like ages and it will good to get back out on the pitch and hopefully do my best for the team. It’s just a case of going into the first tackle and once I get over that things should be ok for me.”

The undisputed highlight of the first half of the season was a 4-1 win over Celtic and they will return to New Tinto Park next Sunday to take part in the second Old Firm derby of the season.

With two big games to restart the season, Rangers will be hoping for two big wins to set up a fine end to the season.

Today’s SSE Scottish Women’s Cup third round tie against Stirling University will kick-off at 2pm at New Tinto Park.

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