NEITHER Glasgow City nor Hibernian are prepared to concede ground in a thrilling race for the Scottish Women’s Premier League title, although the champions had the better of yesterday’s exchanges with a 7-0 rout of Rangers at the Excelsior.

Hibs had a much more difficult task against a well-organised Spartans side, but in the end won comfortably thanks to a Lizzie Arnot hat-trick. There was an identical 3-0 scoreline in the other top-six match, which allowed Aberdeen to reclaim third spot from Celtic at Heathryfold Park.

The highlights of City’s victory were Julie Fleeting’s first goals since joining the champions from Celtic in the winter. She has barely played because of a series of niggling injuries, but came off the bench in the second half to score a double in the 63rd and 70th minutes.

“She’s delighted to have scored her first goals for Glasgow City,” said head coach Scott Booth. “She used her strength for both – she just knows how to find the net.”

Although Booth was happy for Fleeting, and for returning co-striker Susan Fairlie who also scored, he was far from pleased with the overall performance despite it producing his biggest win since he replaced Eddie Wolecki Black. “It was OK in the end but we can play a lot better,” Booth said “Until we got the second goal before half-time we were just huffing and puffing. In the second half the game opened up. Rangers have some young players and they tired a fair bit. ”

Clare Shine gave City the lead just before the half-hour and Scotland midfielder Jo Love added the pick of the goals with a fierce shot from the edge of the box which hit the underside of the bar before nestling in the net.

In the second half, substitutes Fairlie and Fleeting added to Kerry Montgomery’s third goal before captain Leanne Ross got the seventh with a penalty.

Penalties played a big part in Hibs’ win at Ainslie Park. Arnot scored one in each half before adding a fine individual third.

“Lizzie is a super talent and works very hard,” Hibs head coach Chris Roberts said. “She’s our top player in terms of assists so it was great to see her round off an excellent performance with the three goals.”

Arnot’s opening penalty, awarded after she was brought down by home goalkeeper Eartha Cummings, came in the 37th minute. Spartans, who lost Sarah Ewens to injury in the warm-up and then Claire Crosbie with less than 10 minutes played, conceded the second on the hour, this time when Abi Harrison was brought down.

Hannah Stewart, Loren Campbell and Rebecca Dempster scored in Aberdeen’s fine win over Celtic.