By Craig Edwards
Five years is a long time. Five years ago, Scotland were still waiting for an appearance at a major tournament this century. David Cameron was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Glasgow City were about to appoint a new head coach in Scott Booth.
In those five years since Scott Booth made his first appearance in the dugout, City have moved back to Petershill Park, collected another five league titles and another two Scottish Cups along with the small matter of a UEFA Women’s Champions League quarter final against German champions, Wolfsburg.
The former Aberdeen and Borussia Dortmund forward’s first match in charge was a 3-0 victory over Celtic and the side would go on to clinch the Scottish Women’s Premier League title at the end of the season as Scott got his first taste of silverware. It was swiftly followed by his second as City beat Hibernian 3-0 to win the Scottish Cup and it was this challenge of continuing the winning trend that Scott said, attracted him to the job.
“One big challenge that attracted me to the job was it was a team that had been successful, had been winning the league regularly and in recent times had got to the quarter finals of the Champions League.”
The following year, Scott’s first full season in charge, would prove to be historic as City secured the SWPL title for a tenth year in a row with crucial victories over Hibernian securing the league title. Important victories over Hibernian in the league would continue to be a trend under Scott’s leadership. His third year saw City secure the title with a 3-0 victory at Ainslie Park with all three goals coming early in the first half as City sent out a message to their rivals while clinching the SWPL.
Another dramatic victory, this time on the penultimate day of the season as Leanne Crichton pounced on a loose ball in the box against Hibernian secured a 12th title in a row after Scott was locked in a tight title battle with the Edinburgh side all season and he once again, ended the season unbeaten in the league.
2019 saw arguably one of Scott’s finest league campaigns with goals galore throughout the season including hitting Motherwell for 10 to clinch the title with three games to spare and moved the record to 13 SWPL titles in a row. A 13th title in a row wasn’t enough for City in the 2019 as Scott won his second Scottish Cup following a dramatic final against Hibernian at Tynecastle Park which saw both sides lead at various points before Clare Shine, who’s hat-trick won Scott his first Scottish Cup, scored in the dying seconds to bring the trophy back along the M8 to Glasgow.
Despite continuing the success domestically, Scott had a tough start in Europe. The first year City were drawn to face Chelsea in the Round of 32 and despite spirited performances, were unable to progress past the English giants. The following year Swedish side Eskilstuna United denied City progressing any further in Europe and it wasn’t to be third time lucky as the away goals rule denied City a place in the Round of 16 with Kazygurt going through.
2018 saw City face Anderlecht, FC Martve and Gornik Leczna in the group stage at the Oriam in Edinburgh and Scott says progressing through that tough group was the moment everything changed in Europe.
“The turning point was the group stage in Edinburgh and obviously that didn’t start particularly well. After the Anderlecht game it just turned and we got the wins we needed, Sam Kerr scoring the goal late on and with the emotions along with that and for the first time since I took over, we had taken a step forward in Europe. Since then we’ve done really well and we’ve definitely punched well above our weight.”
The 2-0 victory over Gornik Leczna saw City reach the Round of 32 and a victory by the same scoreline away in Cyprus meant Scott reached the Last 16 with City for the first time despite a nervy night at Petershill Park which saw Somatio Barcelona win 1-0.
The giants that are FC Barcelona proved too much in the next round but the European issue had been dealt with and the 2019 season would see Scott take City even further in the Champions League.
A 5-1 aggregate victory over Chertanovo Moscow was followed up by one of Scott’s finest victories, a 2-0 away victory at the Brondby Stadion over the Danish champions but Brondby would fightback at Petershill Park. The tie eventually went to penalties and after losing two cup finals on penalties, Scott admitted it was nice to finally win one.
“It's going to have to change some time, you lose all these penalty shoot outs in cup finals and then the one really big one you want to get through on and when Jo stepped up and did what she did, it’s an amazing feeling and that is a memory I will always cherish.”
The quarter final tie against Wolfsburg is still to be played as Scott celebrates five years at Glasgow City with the coronavirus pandemic delaying the match till August but despite the unusual time to celebrate an anniversary, Scott said he looks back at his time so far as really good.
“It’s been a really good time for me, a really good learning experience, full of highs and lows at times just like football generally is but I think in terms of what you want to do when you take a job, you want to remain successful as a team, you want to build a team and over five years you build several teams. I think it has been great we have been able to do that and I’ve had a lot of help from a lot of people that some are still here and some are not and I owe them a lot.”
Scott Booth’s next match in charge of Glasgow City will be the UEFA Women’s Champions League quarter final against Wolfsburg at the Anoeta Stadium in San Sebastian. You can donate a match ticket here
Watch the full video interview with Scott Booth on GCFC TV on Saturday 25th July.