Berwick board backing boss Coughlin despite cup shocker

Another missed chance for Berwick.
Another missed chance for Berwick.

Berwick manager John Coughlin offered his resignation after Berwick’s shock cup exit at the hands of non-league side Hawick Royal Albert on Saturday

Immediately after the game, Coughlin spoke with the chairman and directors offering to step down.

“I am an honourable man and I thought it was the honourable thing to do,” he said.

“My resignation was not accepted, so now we have to pick up the pieces and try to move on.”

Coughlin was left feeling frustrated after what can only be described as an inept performance against the Lowland League opponents.

It was his team’s second cup exit to a non-league side this season after losing 3-0 at home to Spartans in the Challenge Cup.

But what rubbed salt into the wound was the fact that it was a former Berwick player, Josh Morris, who came back to haunt them.

The striker was released by Rangers after failing to establish himself as a first team regular, and he returned in style, netting a first half hat-trick to sink the SPFL League Two side.

“I’m playing with a lot more confidence now,” he said, “and that’s something I don’t think I had in my game when I was at Berwick.

“I think Berwick under-estimated us, and in some respects they didn’t show us the respect we deserved in the build-up to the game by claiming they expected to beat us comfortably. We are a better side than that, and we proved that today.”

Following the defeat a shellshocked Coughlin said: “When the third goal went in I thought, ‘That’s it’.

“I have many happy memories of winning the league title here, but I don’t want to be remembered as the manager who lost to Hawick.

“When the players go out on the pitch it is down to them, but it is me who picks the team and the buck stops with me.

“As everyone knows I have the wellbeing of the club at heart, which is why I took the decision I did.

“The chairman and directors were understanding of my situation and the way I felt, but they said they couldn’t accept my resignation. I have been in football for a long time and this has to be an all-time low.

“It was a great result for Hawick and Josh Morris had a field day. Congratulations go to them, but really it was a great draw for us and we should have beaten them.”

Chairman Len Eyre said: “There is no doubt that 

Saturday’s performance was incredibly disappointing, especially given the financial boost that progressing in the Scottish Cup provides which is vital to all lower league clubs.

“However, if our club is to progress going forward our definition of success must take into account a broader spectrum of criteria.

“John’s immediate work in building a youth structure which is better than has ever been seen at Shielfield Park is admirable.

“In addition to that, the first-team still retain a positive position in League Two, sitting one point off the play-off spots in fifth place, unbeaten in four games and away from home and also maintaining the league’s best defensive record.

“The board are of the belief that despite Saturday’s result, there has still been significant progress made in a short period of time and fully believe that, in John, we have the best person to take the club forward.”

Berwick must now try and pick up the pieces when they take on Arbroath in a league game at Shielfield on Saturday.