Rangers opened up an 11-point lead over reigning champions Glasgow City in the SWPL after a goal in each half from Rio Hardy. The striker’s return takes her to 22 for the season but also puts Rangers firmly in the driving seat to recapture a title they lost last term to City.
Leanne Ross’ side still have a game in hand to play but even at this stage of the season this feels like a substantial return to have to claw back.
They failed to lay a glove on Rangers – a 97th minute effort was the only time Jenna Fife had to muddy her gloves with Jo Potter’s side well worth the three points. They remain the only team unbeaten in the SWPL.
Hardy’s penalty on the cusp of the interval was the difference between the teams at the break after Anna Oscarsson had been judged to have used her arm to block a shot on goal from just inside the box.
It was a contentious call from referee Connor Ashworth with City furious at the decision as they maintained Oscarsson was not in an unusual position.
Hardy kept her composure amid the furore as she buried a low effort into the bottom on Lee Gibson’s left-hand corner.
Up until then it had been a forgettable half with both teams cancelling one another out and neither able to conjure up a notable attempt on target.
Rangers looked to turn the screw in the second period with Kirsty Howat aiming straight at Gibson from the edge of the box.
Chelsea Cornet was next to test Gibson as she forced a decent save from the Scotland internationalist as City struggled to assert any kind of dominance in the game.
Hardy sealed the points in added time after she bounded in behind Oscarsson before taking a touch and blasting the ball high into the net.