Berwick Rangers 0-3 Spartans

Jordan Sheerin is challenged by former Berwick defender Chris Townsley.
Jordan Sheerin is challenged by former Berwick defender Chris Townsley.

Berwick Rangers manager John Coughlin is calling on his players to show their true character when they kick off their league programme at Arbroath on Saturday.

It follows a shock 0-3 home defeat at the hands of Lowland League side Spartans in the first round of the Challenge Cup at Shielfield on Tuesday.

Rangers were humbled by the Edinburgh side who scored two goals in the first half and another early in the second.

Former Berwick player Scott Maxwell opened the scoring after 11 minutes, with Jamie Dishington adding a second on the stroke of half-time.

The killer third goal came from Craig Stevenson just five minutes after the re-start, all three efforts being low shots into the bottom corner of Kevin Walker’s net.

Spartans included several former Berwick players in their ranks and didn’t seem to be overawed by their senior opposition.

Berwick only forced the visiting keeper into making one direct save - with the very last kick of the game - and their frustration on the pitch was echoed by the fans in the stands who booed the team off at both half time and the final whistle.

Coughlin said: “That’s as bad a defeat as I have suffered as a manager.

“We were beaten by a side who looked more professional than us, and I know there is no place to hide.

“We have to take it and move on, but what worries me is the abject apathy in the dressing room.

“The players should be hurting after a result and performance like that, but I didn’t feel it.

“It wasn’t the best of preparations for our first league game of the season against Arbroath on Saturday.

“We looked leggy tonight, I don’t think I recognised some of the players out there. That might be down to the busy schedule we have had, playing ten games in five weeks, so I will be pleased now that the midweek matches are out of the way.

“I want the players now to show me their true character in the league.

“I want to see some fight, some passion. The players should all be able to motivate themselves and get themselves up for a match. That is something we will be looking at in training this week.”

* Berwick Rangers concluded their League Cup sectional play-offs with a 2-0 defeat against group winners Morton at Cappielow on Saturday.

Morton’s goals were scored by debutant Jamie Lindsay, who netted after only four minutes, and Jai Quitongo.

Rangers, who picked up two points from two draws against Albion Rovers and Clyde, losing both penalty shoot-outs, finished bottom of their five-team group.