Berwick Rangers boss Stuart Malcolm believes his players can overcome a poor show last week

Berwick Rangers are facing injury problems and last week’s result went against them – but manager Stuart Malcolm is expecting his players to rally and come through it.

By Ralph Mellon
Thursday, 3rd February 2022, 4:02 pm
Berwick Rangers boss Stuart Malcolm (picture by Michael Gillen)
Berwick Rangers boss Stuart Malcolm (picture by Michael Gillen)

The Shielfield boss conceded his side was well beaten last week by Caledonian Braves, despite taking an early lead, but he says his players are capable of finding a response and recapturing some good form.

This Saturday, the Wee Gers visit the Lowland League’s bottom club Vale of Leithen, with the Victoria Park men undergoing something of a transformation since an 11-0 battering by Malcolm’s troops back in October.

The Innerleithen side took a point last week in a commendable 0-0 draw with East Kilbride and Malcolm said Berwick would be taking nothing for granted.

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“They (Vale) got a good result and it’s going to be a tough game,” he added.

"Vale of Leithen have picked up considerably since the new management team went in there (head coach Grant Sandison and assistant Ryan Brady) and they have picked up a few good results along the way as well, so it's going to be a real challenge.

"We are going to have to be better than we have been in the last couple of weeks, certainly, to make sure we give a good account of ourselves.”

Berwick Rangers opened the scoring early on in Motherwell last week, through Graham Taylor, but Caledonian Braves hit back to take the lead and later made sure of a 3-1 victory with a penalty, for which Berwick captain Jamie Pyper was sent off.

“I think we were probably well beaten on Saturday,” admitted Malcolm. "We were not at our best and I am pretty honest in my assessment of the game.”

The gaffer thought Berwick were the better team for the opening 15 minutes before things started to go wrong.

“Once we actually did score the goal, we stopped doing everything we had done for those first 15 minutes,” he said.

“We became a little bit passive and not really the team we have seen over the last four or five league games.

"We need to get back to what we were doing – back to the basics of what we were doing, and doing very well, so we’ll get in training and rectify that wee bit of an issue for Saturday.”

Malcolm said his squad had extricated themselves before from sticky situations and he was hopeful an improvement would come soon.

“They have done it before – we have had ups and downs this season,” he said.

"We are trying to build something, so there are going to be ups and downs. However, they have responded eventually to a poor run of results earlier on in the season, when four or five results did not go our way, but we still stuck at it, stuck together, and bounced back.

"We are obviously a couple of bodies light – we have real injury problems just now. That is a huge factor in what we are doing but it's not an excuse. We still have good players that can fill in and do the job that is asked.

"So I expect us to bounce back in terms of our performance but it (Saturday) will be a very, very good game. We take nothing for granted – we have to go there and what we will try to do is get three points.”

Aidan Denholm looks to be out for a while with a knee injury picked up at Alliance Park, said Malcolm, in a bad tackle which was, unfortunately, missed by the referee.

Jack Cook is also doubtful for the visit to Innerleithen and Malcolm said: “We have a couple of concerns but we just have to mix and match and get on with it.”