‘We have not become a bad team overnight’

BERWICK manager Jimmy Crease is hopeful that Rangers can wake up from their slumber and put a good run of results together over the final months of the season.

After making a bright start to the campaign, the Borderers have hit a virtual brick wall, winning only one of their past nine fixtures.

They have slipped down the table, out of the automatic play-off places, and there is a grave danger that unless they regain their winning touch shortly, their season could fritter away to nothing.

But Crease remains optimistic.

“There’s no denying that we have gone off the boil,” he said. “But we have not become a bad team overnight.

“We have the same basic squad of players we started the season with. They are a good bunch of lads and I am confident they can turn it around.”

Crease says his squad has to take heart from a team like Queen’s Park.

“They were struggling near the foot of the table, but suddenly they have won four games in a row and now they are above us.

“It just shows you that if we can put a few wins together there is no reason why we shouldn’t start to climb the table again.

“There is still a long way to go, so it is not beyond us, but I have to admit that we are making it increasingly more difficult for ourselves with each passing week.

“The lack of goals recently is a concern for us. We have failed to score in our last three league matches, and as everyone knows if you don’t score goals you don’t win games.

“In our last match (away to East Stirling) we didn’t play that well and didn’t create a lot, but we only lost due to an own goal whilst the previous week against Queen’s Park I thought we played well enough to deserve to take something from the match.

“It’s been a lean time for the strikers, but if we are not creating chances it makes it all the more difficult.

“Early in the season our midfielders were playing well and we were creating a lot, but some of their form has dipped over the past month or so and that is when we could have done with a bigger squad to bring someone else in and freshen it up.”

Berwick found themselves without a game at the weekend because their opponents, Stranraer, were still involved in the Scottish Cup.

With all the other teams in the Third Division paired up in a full fixture list, it meant Berwick were unable to arrange another meaningful fixture.

“We tried to arrange a friendly,” said Crease, “but that fell through, so the players were in for training instead on Saturday morning.

“We arranged a friendly against Stenhousemuir at Ochilview on Tuesday because the players, especially the likes of Stuart Callaghan (who is just coming back from long-term injury), Jamie Ewart (who has not been a regular in the first team this season) and John Grant (who has just signed from Alloa) need games under their belt.

“But the postponement of the Stranraer game only adds to our growing list of call-offs. That’s seven games we have to catch up on now, so I think we are in for a busy few months.”

A revamped fixture list was issued by the SFL on Friday and Rangers now face the prospect of seven successive weeks of playing every Saturday and Tuesday. The first re-arranged game is at Clyde on Tuesday, February 15.