Little calls for repeat show from players

Ross Gray in action for Berwick in their cup tie against Livingston
Ross Gray in action for Berwick in their cup tie against Livingston

Berwick Rangers manager Ian Little is calling on a repeat performance from his players as they prepare to take on Cowdenbeath in the Challenge Cup at Shielfield on Saturday.

Berwick, who will now be playing in League Two following restructuring of the SPFL last week, beat Championship side Livingston with a hard-earned but deserved 3-2 extra-time victory at the weekend.

Little was full of praise for his players after watching his side beat the Almondvale outfit in a highly entertaining and at times controversial Ramsdens Cup first round tie.

“I simply cannot praise them enough,” he said. “This was a big scalp for us and it was a great way to kick off the season.

“The win will give the players a lot of confidence, which hopefully we can take into next week’s Challenge Cup match at home against Cowdenbeath.”

Little said the third goal from new signing Owen Ronald was ‘ a wonder strike’ and he said his inclusion in the team had given them ‘good balance.’

“Owen has already chipped in with three assists and two goals in his first three games, so he is proving to be a useful addition to the team,” he said.

Little admitted to being disappointed at losing out last week on striker Liam Buchanan, who had played a couple of games as a trialist.

“We made Liam an offer and were hopeful he might accept,” said the manager, “but he got the offer of a full time contract with East Fife and he couldn’t turn that down.”

Little, who has three regular first team players (full-back Devon Jacobs, central defender Dougie Brydon and midfielder Neil Janczyk) on the injured list, is still looking to strengthen his first team squad with the addition of at least two new players, his priority being a new centre half and another front man.

However, he admits to more than a passing interest in Lewis Turner who played as a trialist full-back on Saturday and he might be pursuing him.

“We had four players from last year’s reserve team on the bench against Livingston, and whilst that might not sound ideal, I had no hesitation in putting the youngsters in because I knew they wouldn’t let me down,” he said.

“Three of them were used as substitutes and I think they gave us fresh legs at a time when we needed them.

“Overall it was a fantastic result and I am delighted to have started the season with a win like this.

“I thought we had won it in normal time, but the referee let Livi’s late equaliser stand and we had to do it all again in extra-time.”

Berwick will now hope to repeat their result against higher league opposition when they take on Cowdenbeath in the Challenge Cup first round at Shielfield on Saturday.

“It’s another chance for us to show what we are capable of,” said Little, “before we get down to the bread and butter of the league.

“The league is obviously our priority, but we know that a good cup run can benefit the club financially as well as give the players a lift.”