Rangers set to face Newcastle XI at Shielfield

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BERWICK, who have no league game this weekend because of the internationals, are to face a Newcastle United X1 at Shielfield Park on Friday.

The game kicks off at 7.45pm and a club spokesman said they were delighted the Magpies had agreed to send up a squad, led by former England international Peter Beardsley and Willie Donachie.

Berwick have strong links with Newcastle down the years - Sir Bobby Robson often brought his side for pre-season friendlies, and the last occasion they visited was two years ago when they fielded a side made up mainly from the Reserves.

Meanwhile, Berwick striker Darren Lavery scored his first senior goal for Rangers against East Stirling at Shielfield on Saturday ... and said afterwards that he hoped it was the first of many.

Lavery netted the opener in the 3-0 win over Shire, and he later admitted it was a weight off his shoulders.

“When I first came into the squad at the start of the season I felt there was a bit of pressure on me,” he said. “Some people had pre-conceived ideas about what I might be able to do, so to get my first goal lifts that burden off my shoulders.

“It’s such a great feeling to score my first goal at this level, hopefully I might be able to go on and score a few more now.”

Lavery was introduced to the Berwick squad by then caretaker boss Ian Little towards the end of last season. He made a few appearances as substitute but was then put out on loan to Leith Athletic.

“It was nice to be asked back,” he said, “but it is quite a big step up. The game is a lot quicker, it’s more physical and a lot more technical, but I’m enjoying it and it’s just great to get off the mark with my first goal.”

Little was naturally delighted for a player he holds a lot of faith in. But he was quick to add that he is far from the finished product.

“Darren still has a lot to learn,” said Little. “I think I will still have to do a bit of coaching with him, but he is learning all the time and if he goes about things in the right manner there is no reason why he shouldn’t have a bright future in the game.”

Of Saturday’s performance against Shire Little said: “Of course I was pleased to win and get the three points. The way we have been playing I was always confident the first win of the season would come eventually. But we looked a little bit sluggish at times. We started to tire in the second half, which was why I took some players off, and I think that is probably the after-effects, both physically and mentally from the Rangers game.”

After watching his side score three goals without reply Little added: “People keep telling me we need a striker, and another front man would be the final piece of the jigsaw, but the reality is they are hard to find.”

Meanwhile, the Reserves have added a new player to their squad in the shape of defender Jonathon Fairbairn. The 22 year-old, from Milfield, started out at junior level with Berwck Rangers Juniors and Tweedmouth. He then moved to St Johnstone and most recently has been playing with Mississippi Storm in the USA. He made his debut against Kelso on Saturday.