Berwick came from behind to inflict a defeat on league leaders Arbroath 3-1 at Shielfield, and in so doing sent out a message to Spartans ahead of their Scottish Cup replay on Tuesday.
The Red Lichties were without a win in four, and goals from Lee Currie, Paul Willis and substitute Andy Russell stretched that to five after substitute Thomas Grant gave the visitors a second half lead with a goal from his first touch of the ball.
With centre backs Jonny Fairbairn and Stephen Tulloch both suspended Rangers utilised Steven Notman in the middle of the back four, player-manager Colin Cameron making his first start for two months.
In the early stages Cameron and Willis both had half-hearted efforts for Berwick whilst Darren Lavery twice cut in from the left, but his shots, from outside the box, didn’t trouble goalkeeper, and former Berwick stopper, Marc McCallum.
Ross Gray looked dangerous down the right and got in behind his marker on several occasions to get in crosses, and in one such move a deflected cross had to be taken by McCallum at his near post.
In the first half Arbroath struggled to apply any pressure on the home defence and it wasn’t until Bobby Linn pulled a snap shot wide from outside the box that they registered a meaningful effort on goal.
Berwick went close to opening the scoring after 40 minutes when a Willis header from a Kerr Young cross was tipped onto the post by McCallum and then cleared for a corner.
Willis also let fly with a shot saved by McCallum, but at half-time it remained 0-0.
At the start of the second half Arbroath replaced fullback Johnny Lindsay, who had been run ragged by Gray in the opening 45, and after 49 minutes the visitors had their first effort on goal, a header from Simon Murray, which was saved by Billy Bald.
Lavery ran though and tried to chip the ball over McCallum, but the keeper was able to get an outstretched glove to deny him.
Willis pulled a left foot shot across the face of the visitors’ goal as Berwick continued to make most of the running and McCallum again had to come to Arbroath’s rescue when he punched away a half volley from Lavery on the left side of the box.
But the deadlock was broken when substitute Thomas Grant found the net with his first touch of the ball after 62 minutes, just seconds after being introduced as a substitute.a throw-in to Murray was flicked on and Grant shot low past Bald.
But the lead lasted only five minutes as Lee Currie eqiualised for Rangers after 67 minutes, when a left foot shot from outside the box took a deflection to find its way into the net.
And after 73 minutes the home side deservedly took the lead when Willis found the net from close range after a move crafted by Cameron and Gray.
Berwick substitute David Gold then carved out a good opening on the left, but his shot was hit straight at McCallum in the centre of his goal.
Linn almost pulled a goal back for the visitors from a situation out of nothing, when his cross from the right caught the Berwick defence napping and it bounced back off the far post.
In injury time Bald made a good point-blank save to deny Arbroath a late equaliser., but Berwick broke straight upfield and substitute Russell added a third with virtually the last kick of the game, rounding the keeper in a one on one situation before shooting home.