Berwick to face Hibs

BERWICK gave themselves a timely eve-of-season boost when they beat first division side Partick Thistle in the Scottish Communities League Cup first round at Firhill on Saturday.

And their reward is a lucrative second round tie against Hibernian.

In the draw, which was made at Dingwall on Tuesday, Rangers were paired with the SPL outfit and the game will be played at Easter Road on either Tuesday or Wednesday, August 23 or 24.

After last season’s money-spinning Scottish Cup home tie against Celtic, this is another opportunity for Berwick to cash in.

The sides met in a pre-season friendly at Shielfield just a few weeks ago when Berwick gave a good account of theselves before going down 3-0.

Director John Bell, who is relishing the chance of a crack at the capital side said:

“In all honesty this is just reward for the performance the players turned in at Partick.

“I can’t remember the last time we played Hibs competitively, but it must have been a few years ago.

“It’s another away tie - that makes it a remarkable 18 of the last 19 draws away from home (the only home tie was against Celtic), but on this occasion we don’t mind as we would much rather be playing at Easter Road in front of five or six thousand people, rather than somewhere like Forfar.”

Previously, Berwick and Hibernian have met on six occasions in competitive fixtures.

The first occasion was in 1967, when following their famous 1-0 win over Glasgow Rangers, Berwick went down 1-0 in Edinburgh in the Scottish Cup fourth round.

In 1979-80 the teams met twice. They drew 0-0 at Shielfield in a Scottish Cup tie, when George Best graced the Tweedside pitch, Hibs going on to win the replay 1-0 at Easter Road.

And in 1980-81 they faced each other three times in the old first division, one game at Shielfield ending 0-0, whilst Hibs won each of the others 2-0.

Rangers, who kick off their third division campaign with a difficult away game at Elgin this weekend, also take on Dumbarton in the second round of the Ramsdens Challenge Cup (away) on Tuesday, August 9.

The day previous (Monday 8) the Ramsdens Cup will be on display at their shop in Marygate, Berwick and fans are being invited along to have their pictures taken with the trophy.

The Cup will be in the shop between 10am and 3pm, and there is also a chance to win a signed Berwick Rangers’ shirt in a prize draw.

Berwick’s win over Partick was achieved just a week after a penalty shoot-out victory over Clyde in the first round of the Ramsdens Cup and manager Jimmy Crease was naturally delighted with the performance.

“After losing to Partick in each of the last two years this was most definitely sweet revenge as far as we were concerned. But it was a win which was also deserved,” he said.

“Some people will point to the fact that Partick had two players sent off, but on each occasion it was a foul by the last man and we were in scoring positions.

“This really was a great result and a good all round team performance. It was the confidence booster we were looking for before our first league game at Elgin this weekend.”

With two games in the coming week Crease says it is important his players maintain their level of concentration.

“Elgin is not an easy place to start your league campaign,” he said, “and to follow that up with a cup tie just three days later at Dumbarton means we will have to have out wits about us.”

And of the cup draw against Hibernian he added: “This will be a great occasion for the club.

“It’s all very well playing league games every week, but a game like this, at Easter Road, is one many of the players will remember for the rest of their lives.

“They played very well on Saturday and I’m just delighted that we have managed to land such a plum draw.

“The fact that we only played them a few weeks ago in a pre-season friendly means that we also know a bit about their play.

“In saying that, it will still be a very difficult game.”