THE Stirling University ladies were outclassed in their return to Scottish Premier League action by a slick Hibernian LFC Sunday at Ainslie Park.

A brace of goals either side of halftime from Jamielee Napier, Lisa Robertson, Abi Harrison and Lauren Davidson, summer signing Kendra Bonsall adding a late consolation effort for Stirling, handed the SWPL leaders a 4-1 triumph.

“Obviously with the scoreline we are disappointed but listen, Hibs are a top team,” said Stirling head coach, Barry Rodgers, who praised his side’s determination to frustrate and pressure their talented hosts.

He added: “We came here to try to frustrate them, stop them from playing and work as hard as we could, and on those fronts I am really happy with our performance and work rate throughout.

"We asked them to work as hard as they could and I think they have achieved that. We created a couple of chances and we got a good goal back from Kendra.

"Overall, we are happy with the performance and what we did on our end.”

After the usual four-week summer hiatus, the SWPL returned Sunday.

Stirling, who saw a number of players depart the club during the summer break and three new players join, did manage to hold their own against the title favourites, even provide an expectant home support with a level of doubt about the result.

Stirling defended bravely, almost as if their lives depended on it at times, frustrating their hosts with a tenacity rarely seen in the Premier League, however their undoing would ultimately be inevitable.

The hosts had almost exclusive access to possession, but it was their slickness in movement, the crispness of their passing and their all-round authority of play that was so ominously impressive.

The league leaders, who were aiming to maintain a seven-game winning run, were kept at bay for 34 minutes until Napier tapped home a parried save from Stirling goalkeeper Chloe Logan.

Captain Robertson doubled Hibs lead on the stroke of halftime with a sweetly struck volley to give the home side a two-goal cushion at the interval.

The second half played-out in the same fashion as the opening period, Hibs building from the back and launching wave-after-wave of pointed attack.

The constant attacking pressure heaped onto the talented, but exhausted, defensive Stirling unit eventually told.

Goals from Harrison and substitute Davidson, either side of a debut goal from Bonsall, clinched all three-points for the home side.

Rogers continued: “We have had some changeover again in the summer period with some players going out and some coming in so we’ve had about two and a half weeks together as a whole to work on the team and how we want to play.

“We are starting to adapt to everyone, with the new players in and players who were already here, and we can see that little bits are starting to come together.

"Today’s performance was good and hopefully over the next few weeks we will see a lot more come together and some results will come our way.

"We have a bit of a break now, with Glasgow City playing in the Champions League this coming week, then we have three games in a week - starting with Rangers. So we will be working hard to get ourselves ready for a busy period coming up.”

STIRLING: Logan, Sutherland, Eadie, Falconer, Bonner, Rule, Callaghan, Mason, Bondall, Welch, Simpson. Substitutes: Armstrong, Leiper.