IT’S been another week of inactivity for Berwick Rangers, just like it has for clubs up and down the country.
But for manager Jimmy Crease and his players, the situation is doubly frustrating, because of course they are wanting to get themselves back up to match speed before their glamour cup tie against Celtic.
Berwick haven’t played since their 3-0 away win over Cove Rangers more than a fortnight ago, a game which set up the ‘Old Firm’ fixture.
“We really want to be out there playing,” admitted Crease this week, “but under the current conditions there is just no way that is going to happen.”
Saturday’s home game against East Stirling was postponed because Shielfield was snowbound, and Tuesday’s re-arranged fixture at Elgin also went the same way.
Rangers are due to travel to Stranraer this Saturday, but that is a match which is also likely to be under some doubt, and it could be that next Tuesday’s re-arranged home fixture against East Stirling might be their first opportunity for the players to get out and stretch their legs.
“The snow is causing us a lot of problems,” admitted Crease, “not only from the playing point of view, but also with training.
“We are finding it increasingly difficult to find suitable facilities to train.
“A lot of the leisure centres are closed and that has meant that we have been unable to train on each of our usual Tuesday and Thursday nights over the past week.
“We managed to find somewhere in Gorgie (Edinburgh) to train on Saturday, but with some of our players based in the Borders and over in Glasgow, it was diffuicult for everyone to get there.
“I know personally just how difficult it is for everyone because my car has been blocked in at the pub for the past fortnight, and as I look out of the window now (Monday) it is snowing again.
“We have asked some of the players to try and train themselves at their local gyms, but that’s never easy, and it’s certainly not ideal.
“Of couse everyone has their eye on the Celtic game, (scheduled for January 9) and that is perfectly understandable, but we have to try and keep our feet on the ground.
“We have a few games to play before then, and whilst the cup is important, the league has to remain our priority.
“We will do very well financially out of the Celtic game, but that fact of the matter is we are never going to win the Scottish Cup, but we can still win the league.
“What we have to do is remain focused and hope that the boost from the cup win and draw helps us kickstart our season again.
“We drew five matches in a row, which meant dropping a lot of points, hopefully, now that we have regained our winning touch again we can kick on from here.
“I know that the squad has been stretched recently because of injuries and suspensions, but the lay-off has given Darren Gribben and Fraser McLaren longer to recover.
“We have extended Steven Thompson’s loan spell from Stenhousemuir and we have also been looking at a couple of players with a view to strengthening the squad.
“They trained with us before the snow came and we are still interested in them, but as we haven’t been able to organise any games recently we just haven’t been able to get a proper look at them.”