Hibernian Ladies announced their arrival on the European stage last night in as emphatic a fashion as they won the Scottish title last season! The Hibee girls crushed ZNK Maksimer from Croatia 5-0 in their opening match in the preliminary group stages of the UEFA Women’s Championships in Belgium.
The win is the perfect start for Hibernian, who have two more games to play this week in the four-team group stage with only the winners going on to the next stage in October. It took Hibs just four minutes to open their European account – and by half time Hibs were 3 goals up. A stunning hat-trick from Debbie McWhinnie, signed from Glasgow City in the summer, set up a victory that left coach Iain Johnston proud and delighted.
McWhinnie opened the scoring after good work from Suzanne Malone after four minutes, and from there Hibs never looked back. Julie Ferguson headed Hibs two up after 20 minutes before McWhinnie netted her second just before half time. Stacey Cook was on hand early in the second half to clip home after the goalkeeper failed to hold a shot, and the stage was then left to McWhinnie to tap home her hat-trick after being set up by Hamill.
In the other group match last night, Masinic Classic from Yugoslavia beat Belgian side Rapide Wezmaal 4-1, leaving Hibernian as group leaders. Hibs play the Belgian’s tomorrow before facing what could be a crunch decider on Saturday against the Yugoslavs.