Francesca Ogilvie: From Stonehaven To The SWPL1

Aberdeen‘s Francesca Ogilvie (pictured above with her SWPL Player of the Month Award by Aberdeen FC) has just been named as the SWPL2’s Player of the Month for June – a month that saw the team clinch their first ever promotion to the top flight of Scottish women’s football. Impetus hears all about her busy month.

Francesca Ogilvie of Aberdeen has been voted as the winner of the Scottish Building Society SWPL Player of the Month for June 2021.

The forward helped her side to lift the SWPL 2 title, eventually finishing ten points clear of second placed Hamilton Academical.

In a busy month which involved seven games for Aberdeen, Ogilvie scored eight goals and provided four assists. This included a hat-trick away to Queen’s Park with Aberdeen coming away 3-0 winners.

It’s the second time that an Aberdeen FC player has picked up the award in the 2020/21 season with Bayley Hutchison winning back in October 2020.

On top of winning the public vote, Ogilvie also came out with the most votes amongst the Head Coaches in the Scottish Building Society SWPL 2.

Also nominated for the June award was Clare Docherty (Partick Thistle), Josephine Giard (Hamilton Academical), and Robyn Smith (Dundee United).

Above: Francesca pictured with the SWPL2 championship trophy. Photo: @franogil13

“Just being nominated was amazing. To win it after being up against three other brilliant players – I’m delighted.”

“As a player I didn’t come through the Aberdeen pathway. I started late. I joined Stonehaven at the age of 12, a team who don’t really get looked at, so I never even thought that this would have happened to me a few years later!”

The award comes hot on the heels of Francesca’s Aberdeen side winning promotion for the second successive year as they now find themselves the top flight of Scottish Women’s Football.

“It was always one of our targets and to do it the way we did by winning the SWPL2 was amazing.

“It’s a big sigh of relief that we’ve done it, but the hard work continues next season.”

With all the ramifications of coronavirus and shifting dates of league football, Francesca summed up last season by describing it as: “Totally bizarre!

“We had two games and then there was a whole lockdown. Then we went back into it for a while for a normal one game a week schedule, then another five month lockdown and we were all thinking ‘Oh no! the season will get binned and we were sat top of the SWPL2 and we were panicking that it was going to happen.

Above: Aberdeen celebrate with the SWPL2 championship trophy. Photo: Paul Glendell/Press & Journal.

“One week we were told, that they weren’t sure if the league was coming back, and the next week we were told we had our first game back in seven days.

“They told us we were going to fit the other half of the league season into one month and, again we were thinking ‘Oh no!

“But it was good to be back and we crammed those games in to six weeks which was pretty tough, but we got the results.”

Aberdeen’s first game back after lockdown was against Queen’s Park and Francesca scored all three goals in the Dons’ win.

“It was my first hat-trick for the season, so to do it in SWPL2 was a good achievement for myself. It was 0-0 at half-time away from home and we were thinking ‘Oh my goodness, we not going home with three points here!’”

Aberdeen suffered a defeat to key challengers Hamilton Academical who, eventually also gained promotion. Francesca looked back on that massive game, saying:

“They had to come down and win that game to keep themselves up for promotion. We knew that it would be an extra tough game. In the end they wanted it more. We looked after the table after the game and we still had a wee gap between us and the rest at the top, so no-one was panicking.”

Above: Action from Aberdeen’s first game back after the re-start against Queen’s Park. Photo: Aberdeen FC

Despite the exceptionally heavy workload in June, Francesca saw positives in it.

“Getting those games over and done with in that short time period helped us and ensured the momentum kept going and hopefully we can keep that momentum going into the new season.

“Every player gave it a hundred percent whether they played 90 minutes or came on as a sub.”

Aberdeen eventually won the SWPL2 title with a couple of games to spare against their closest geographical league rivals Dundee United, who were also looking to push for promotion. “Two minutes in we got a goal and it all went from there!” Francesca explained.

In a month of highs for the Aberdeen star, Ogilvie pointed to the game against St. Johnstone for her favourite moment in June.

“We went 1-0 down thirty seconds into the second half. Then we got a free kick on the edge of the box. I took it and we scored and went 1-1. A couple of minutes later I got the ball and swung it inside to the post. It hit one post, rolled along the line, hit the other post and went in! It was a big sigh of relief!”

For Aberdeen, a club only formed in 2018 to be playing top flight Scottish football next season is hugely exciting, and Francesca cannot wait.

Above: Francesca scores from the spot in Aberdeen’s 5-2 win over Dundee United that clinched promotion to the top flight of Scottish women’s football. Photo: Press & Journal.

“I can’t wait! We relish it. No team wants to be in the league we were in. You want to be in the top league playing against the top teams. It helps you and the team to push on. Playing against the best teams and players in Scotland is what everyone wants to do.”

Aberdeen make their SWPL1 debut at home to Celtic, last season’s runners-up who will be playing UEFA Women’s Champions League football this season.

“Everyone’s first game of the season is always a sticky game so we’re excited to be playing a big team and maybe go out and hurt them. But, we’ll take each game as it comes and not look too far ahead at the fixtures.”

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