The expansion of the Scottish Women’s Premier League is a welcomed growth to the game.
However, the last time there was a surge in competitiveness from teams around the top of the table, the gap at the very top only increased.
That exact outcome looks like it is at risk of playing out once again.
Glasgow City are the reigning champions and have been for a remarkable 13 years on the bounce. Their success has seen many titles lifted with flawless, undefeated domestic runs and even when teams such as Hibernian and Celtic have ran them close, they’ve been too relentless.
This season looked set to be groundbreaking. The surge of investment from Rangers and Celtic turned heads, with mutterings City’s rule might be about to be ended.
However, with the season is now more than one third of the way in, a familiar sight has unfolded.
The greatest sufferers of the increased competition has seen last season’s runners-up, Hibernian, lose three games in succession. A streak that must be their worst in over five years and, even at such an early stage, almost eliminates them from being considered in contention for the title race.
Meanwhile, both of the Old Firm have dropped points in these opening five games. Most significantly, Rangers unexpectedly lost the first derby of the season 1-0. Celtic’s stumbling came immediately, with their defeat to City in the season’s opener.
As things stand in the table, City are clear at the top by three points over Celtic and hold a comfortable lead that they are well drilled on how to keep ahold of.
Before the Winter break they still have to face Spartans, before hosting a juicy encounter with Rangers, that the chasing teams will hope can afford them a lifeline before Christmas.
The nature of that fixtures comes with some added spice, as three of City’s current squad signed pre-contract deals with their rivals in summer and will move in the new year.
Scotland internationalists Rachel McLaughlin and Sam Kerr, along with forward Kirsty Howat, will join Nicola Docherty, who made the transition at the start of this year.
The overhaul seems like it should bring inevitable damage to the champions, however, the loss of key players is another regular battle faced by the club. Several players have been lured away to join professional clubs all around the world over the best part of the last decade and adapting to these challenges are just another well-practiced hurdle.
At the other end of the table, it looks like the jump to Premier League football has been too much for Hearts.
The newly-promoted side are without a single point so far and sit rooted to the bottom.
The teams above them perhaps only have a small margin at this point, but with a worrying goal difference of -25 already, they have set themselves an almighty uphill battle.