Rangers cash in on expense saving penalty

William Hill Scottish FA Cup Round 2
William Hill Scottish FA Cup Round 2

BERWICK travel north to face Peterhead in the league this weekend.

But they know they could have been facing an equally difficult trip to Wick in a Scottish Cup replay instead - if Lee Currie had not scored a dramatic 89th minute penalty to sink the Highland League visitors at Shielfield on Saturday.

Currie’s conversion was a welcome, if not expense-saving goal.

For had he not netted the late winner Berwick would not only have faced the prospect of a 640-mile return trip, and all the difficulties that would have incurred.

But they would have had to re-arrange the Peterhead game, probably to mid-week, and that was another trip no one at Shielfield really wanted to make.

“When we scored the late penalty and the final whistle went the overwhelming feeling was one of a sense of relief,” admitted manager Ian Little afterwards.

“For it was only then we realised just how close we were to a replay.

“From what we saw of Wick today that would have been a very difficult game.

“But we would have had to switch the Peterhead game, probably to midweek, and for both matches that would have meant players, as well as myself, having to take time off work, which is never easy.”

Little said he was simply happy to be in the hat for the third round - and in Monday’s draw they were handed an away tie against Stenhousemuir.

The game will be played on the plastic pitch at Ochilview on Saturday, November 3.

Speaking after the last-gasp win over Wick, Little added:

“This was a tale of two penalties. Wick missed their’s when Youssef (Bejaoui) made a fantastic save, and we scored ours.

“An early goal for them would have helped them settle, but when Youssef saved the penalty it gave us a kick up the backside and in the first half I thought we played some really nice football at times.

“Unfortunately, we couldn’t take advantage of the situation, and in the second half Wick came back at us strongly. Youssef had to make a couple of good saves and Dougie Brydon also made a great goal-saving tackle.”

Little said he was particularly pleased with the form of Bejaoui, whom he has challenged with a bet, to keep ten clean sheets during the course of the season.

“Last season we went 28 games without keeping a clean sheet,” said Little, “but Youssef already has a few to his credit this season.”

The keeper, who is quickly gaining a reputation as a good penalty stopper, said: “I have a theory when it comes to saving penalties . . . but I’m not telling anyone what it is.

“Wick made it difficult for us, but we had a few chances in the first half which we didn’t take and that made it difficult for ourselves.

“Lee took his penalty well at the end which gave us the win, and in the cup that’s all that matters.”

Currie added: “Like everyone else I’m just glad we are through. Wick gave us a fright, but when big Stuart (Noble) went down for the penalty I had no hesitation in taking it.

“It was a relief to win because the replay would have been difficult and it would have been an added expense for the club.”