Olid: I’ll Treat This Week As I Do Any Other

With the first Edinburgh Derby of the season on the horizon, Hearts Women manager Eva Olid met the media at Tynecastle Park to discuss Sunday’s mouth-watering capital clash. Aaron Fraser reports.

Photo Credit – SNS

The Edinburgh Derby is one of Scotland’s most famous fixtures and comes with a guarantee of flashpoints, big moments, drama and controversy. This rivalry has been splitting Scotland’s capital city in two since 1875, and is always fiercely contested regardless of the level, age, or gender of both sets of players. Only one thing matters once you cross that white line – winning. 

Intrigue in this particular fixture is high, with almost 10,000 tickets being snapped up for the Sunday afternoon kickoff at Easter Road. This is set to smash the previous record attendance for a Scottish women’s game, also set at an Edinburgh derby last season, which was 5,512. Hearts sit fourth in the league while Hibs sit in sixth, and for the first time, the Capital Cup is up for grabs. Both sets of fans are preparing to bring the noise and back their team to the hilt. It is set to be a momentous occasion for women’s football in Scotland, and certainly not one to be missed.

Hearts manager Eva Olid has praised her team’s upturn in fortunes this season. “We have already won the same number of matches as we did last season. Last season we won six matches and drew two, and this season we have already won six matches. That shows the progression of the team.”

Hibs have found the net 20 times this campaign compared to Hearts’ total of 14. Olid is conscious of this and admits it is something her side need to work on. 

“We know that is something we need to keep working hard on in the final third, and of course other teams have other things to improve. For that we keep working, the final third is one of the things we need to keep working hard on.”

The defensive stats tell a different story entirely, with Hibs having shipped 21 goals. Meanwhile Hearts have only let in 14. A solid defence is key to success just as much as a prolific strike force is. Olid is happy with how her backline and goalkeeper have performed so far.

“Our goalkeeper (Charlotte Parker-Smith) is having a good season but we have to find the balance between defence and attack.”

Hearts have a full squad available for the derby, with Olid happy to confirm there were no injuries on the back of the team’s last game, a 3-0 defeat to Celtic at the Excelsior Stadium.

“For some players we had to modify their training this week but there are no injuries. We have 25 players in the squad and we don’t have any injuries at the moment.”

The importance of this fixture is not lost on Olid. She is fully aware of what a win on Sunday would mean to the Hearts fans.

“I have to work this week as if it is a league game as (I do) every week. We want to win every week and every week we work so hard. I am not going to change the week of training because this is the derby. But it is true that we have to work strongly on the mental side, about the pressure and the crowd that we are going to have. This is an extra thing that we have to work (on) this week.”

Olid sees the introduction of the Capital Cup as a positive thing and thinks it can provide an extra incentive to win for her players. Not that they will need it anyway, as their manager is making sure to keep her players motivated.

“I think that the Capital Cup is (run by) people who support women’s football and I take that so positive, no?” smiles Olid. “If that is extra motivation I think we are motivated just for the occasion, but I think it is something nice, it is something more to win.”

On Sunday afternoon, the women’s Edinburgh Derby will be tuned into like never before. With record numbers of people watching her side, Eva Olid knows the pressure that she and her girls will be under. She comes across as a motivated, determined manager who is relishing the occasion while also making sure she keeps a lid on things to give her players the best chance of victory.

If there are to be maroon and white ribbons on the trophy this weekend, it will be a testament to the hard work of Olid and her players, and a sure-fire sign that Hearts Women are making progress as they strive to become one of Scotland’s top women’s teams. For both players and manager, Sunday cannot come fast enough.

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