Hibernian Women agree deal to play home matches at Tony Macaroni Arena
Hibernian Women have announced that they have entered a partnership with Livingston that sees them play their home matches at Almondvale. Jack Donnelly reports.
Ahead of the forthcoming SWPL season, Hibernian Women have announced that they have entered a partnership with Scottish Premiership side Livingston that will see the Edinburgh club play their home matches at the Tony Macaroni Arena.
The club have also partnered with local side Armadale Thistle in the event of a fixture clash – for example, both Hibs and Livingston are scheduled to play at home this coming Sunday. As such, Hibs will play their SWPL Cup match against Kilmarnock at Volunteer Park.
For the last few seasons, Hibs have been playing their home matches at Ainslie Park, in an agreement with Spartans. The move to Almondvale should be fairly comfortable, considering that both playing surfaces are artificial.
This is the latest step taken towards expanding and growing the women’s game in Scotland. More and more clubs have begun to groundshare with SPFL clubs – Glasgow City play their home games at Broadwood, Clyde’s stadium, while Motherwell Women have been playing at Airdrie’s Excelsior Stadium. The most recent Scottish Cup Final was also played at an SPFL stadium, as a record-breaking crowd took to Tynecastle to watch a seven-goal thriller between Hibs and City.
Hibs Head Coach, Dean Gibson, expressed his excitement over the deal and what it means for the advancement of the women’s game in Scotland:
“I’m delighted we will be able to play our games at the Tony Macaroni next season. It’s a stadium that hosts games at the very highest level in Scottish football and one we are really grateful to be playing at this season.
“With the pace the of women’s game moving in Scotland, it’s important that we continue to move with the times in all avenues. When Spartans cancelled our lease with immediate effect, it gave us a chance to find a stadium that we feel really reflects well on the quality of the league and give our players a brilliant platform to kick on next season.
“I would like to send my thanks to Derek White, Dave Black & all at Livingston Football Club for allowing us the opportunity to play at their brilliant stadium.”
Gibson named Derek White, Livingston Club Secretary, who was equally as excited to be able to welcome Hibs to Livingston this season:
“We were delighted when Dean from Hibernian Women approached us about the possibility of using the Tony Macaroni Arena as their home venue for the 2021/22 season!
“We felt it was a great opportunity for us to provide Hibernian Women with a senior top-flight facility to continue their development and success in SWPL 1. Where a clash arises with Livingston Women’s fixtures, Hibernian and LFC will work co-operatively to accommodate both fixtures with separate kick-off times.
“Everyone at Livingston FC would like to wish them all the best for the upcoming season!”
Hibs General Manager, Stewart McGuire, also expressed his delight at the deal, and Is pleased at the prospect of having spectators in the ground very soon:
“It’s exciting to be able to announce that Hibernian Women FC will be playing our home games at Livingston Football Club this season, a wonderful club and an impressive facility, and we are grateful for their support.
“We look forward to welcoming our supporters to the Tony Macaroni Stadium. I would just also like to thank Armadale Thistle for their wonderful support this season as our second home for Hibernian Women FC.”
Hibernian Women get their season – and this partnership – underway this Sunday, as they welcome Kilmarnock Women in their first SWPL Cup group stage match. The game will be played at Volunteer Park, as Livingston are hosting Aberdeen at Almondvale.