Berwick qualify for end of season play-offs

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RANGERS 1, BERWICK RANGERS 0: Berwick secured their place in the end of season play-offs despite a defeat away to Rangers on the last day of the season.

Going to Ibrox on the final day of the season, and playing in front of a sell-out 51,000 crowd, was never going to be easy.

But Ian Little’s men stuck to their task and gave a very good account of themselves in front of the Sky TV cameras, not allowing themselves to be overawed.

Berwick needed a point to guarantee a play- off spot, or at the very least avoid a heavy defeat to clinch a top four finish ahead of Elgin and Montrose.

In the event, they they went down 1-0, but with Elgin only winning 3-2 and Montrose drawing, it meant The Borderers achieved their qualification slot on goal difference.

Berwick formed a guard of honour as Rangers took to the pitch to the applause of the fans to mark their title success.

But the Shielfielders were without the services of midfield play- maker Lee Currie (suspended), whilst, surprisingly for some, leading scorer Darren Lavery and Dylan Easton were both on the bench.

There wasn’t a lot between the sides in the opening 20 minutes, which Berwick manager Ian Little had described as a key part of the game, and the only shots on goal came from free kicks awarded at either end, Kevin McDonald forcing Neil Alexander to collect confidently on his line after a Lee McCulloch push on Scott Dalziel.

Berwick certainly weren’t outplayed in the opening half hour and Fraser McLaren outjumped everyone at a corner but couldn’t direct his header.

But on 32 minutes Rangers broke from a Berwick corner and a cross from Kyle Hutton on the left was met with a diving header from Fraser Aird who opened the scoring with his third league goal of the season.

This was the only quality move of a half in which Berwick really wanted to take the sting out of the home side, and late in the half Damien Gielty fired in a shot which showed they were not just there to make up the numbers.

In the second half Dalziel had a header saved by Alexander. Andrew Mitchell pulled a shot wide for the home side and ten minutes later Marc McCallum had to punch away a cross from the same player.

As Berwick continued to grow in confidence Stevie Notman saw a shot saved by Alexander, and he also pulled another effort wide. Neil Janczyk also fired wide whilst at the other end substitute Kane Hemmings hit one over the bar.

As the clock ticked down it became obvious, with the scores from elsewhere, that Berwick were safe, and late in the game Chris Townsley saw a shot saved by Alexander as Berwick tried to finish on a high.

Rangers: Alexander, Faure, Gasporotto, Hutton, Mitchell, Templeton, Black, MacLeod, Aird, McCulloch, Little (Cole 37).

Subs: Kelly, Cole, Crawford, Naismith, Hemmings.

Berwick: : McCallum Jacobs McLean Townsley Hoskins Notman Janczyk McLaren McDonald Gielty Dalziel

Subs: McCaldon Easton Lavery Brydon Morris

Referee: John McKendrick.

Attendance: 51,000.