Crease sees red but will stick by wayward striker

Berwick Rangers v Annan
Berwick Rangers v Annan

BERWICK manager Jimmy Crease has promised to stick by controversial striker Darren Gribben, although he admits their working relationship is becoming increasingly strained.

Gribben was needlessly sent off after being shown a straight red card for foul and abusive language directed at the referee and a linesman during Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat at the hands of league leaders Annan.

The tirade was such that afterwards Crease said Gribben was lucky to escape with just a single red. “It could have been two or even three,” he said.

“I have shown a lot of faith in Darren over the last couple of years, but situations like this make it very difficult. He is his own worst enemy.

“Darren is a very gifted player, with a lot of natural ability, but he is very frustrating to work with.

“His indiscipline is often brought into question, but I think his make-up is such that if you took that out of him you would also take something from his game.

“As it is he has to learn to accept decisions when they go against him.

“He must have been caught offside nine or ten times today and that’s frustrating not only for him, but for me, the fans and the rest of the team, because our play breaks down as a result of it.

“He has had a go at the linesman for flagging him again, and as a result of his language he is shown a red card.

“But then he starts hurling abuse at the referee and the linesman.

“I know he was frustrated, but it was totally uncalled for and at the end of the day how can I defend the indefensible.

“He has been shown a straight red card, but really he was lucky not to get two or three red cards for his actions.”

Gribben is of course no stranger to controversy.

Last season after scoring back to back home hat-tricks for the club he amazingly refused to speak to the press and had to be instructed to do so by Crease.

He was then involved in the shirt-throwing incident at Hampden, which led to a tunnel bust-up with the manager.

“Darren will be disciplined internally,” said Crease, “but it’s a question of how far we can take it.

“Last week Darren got the headlines for all the right reasons, this week it’s going to be for all the wrong ones.”

Of the game itself Crease said he thought his players stood up well to the league leaders.

“For the most part we were the better side,” he said, “but how Ian Little missed his chance I will never know.

“He has been a professional footballer for 17 years now and I don’t think he has missed an easier opportunity.”

After back to back wins over Peterhead and Clyde Rangers had hoped to take something from the game against Annan, but with the Gribben sending off they effectively shot themselves in the foot.

There is no game this weekend because of the internationals, so Berwick’s next match will be a week on Saturday (October 15) away to high flying Alloa.

Meanwhile, in the draw for the second round of the Scottish Cup which was made last Wednesday, Berwick have been drawn away to Highland League side Deveronvale.

This will be the first ever meeting between the two clubs and the game will be played on Saturday, October 22.