DISGRUNTLED Berwick manager Jimmy Crease has issued a warning to his players.
Basically he has told his under-performing charges to shape up or ship out of Shielfield.
“They need to start earning their money,” he raged. “It’s past a joke. They can show me they are up for the fight or they can go.”
After watching his side twice surrender a lead as they slumped to another home defeat at the hands of Annan on Saturday, he fumed: “They have to show me that they want to hold onto the jersey. The players are well treated and well paid here at Berwick, but the club needs to see some return from them out on the field.
“At the moment it just isn’t happening and it’s simply not acceptable.”
Crease was in vociferous mood both during and after Saturday’s game.
He was visibly seen to get more frustrated in the dugout as the afternoon wore on, and after the final whistle it would be safe to say he laid it on the line in the dressing room.
“The players have been told in no uncertain terms what is expected of them,” he said. “I have told them that if they don’t like it they know where my office is.”
Commenting on Saturday’s match he said: “It was shocking and pathetic.I thought that today we just weren’t physical enough.
“In the first half we did reasonably well. We scuffed two goals, there is no getting away from that, but we were 2-1 up at half-time and I thought this might just be the game to help us turn our season around.
“To lose three goals at home is just not good enough. I know the pitches as they are don’t suit our usual style, but we need to have more about us than that.
“The quality we had at the start of the season just isn’t there now.
“I keep hoping that the next match is when things are going to start working for us again, because as I keep saying, we have not become a bad team overnight.”
Berwick’s only league win since September, when they topped the table, has been against bottom club Clyde. Since then they have been in virtual free-fall, and Crease says it is about time the brakes are applied before they hit rock bottom.
Rangers had the perfect opportunity to relight the touch paper when they travelled to take on Clyde in a re-arranged fixture at Broadwood on Tuesday.
But despite turning in a solid second 45, which must have given the manager some hope, they went down to a 2-0 defeat which must now surely have the alarm bells ringing around Shielfield.
After the game Crease said: “When you do not take your chances and you give away soft goals you get beat.
“The only way we are going to save our season now is if we put a run of wins together, but on current form I can’t see that happening.
“I’m not saying the players aren’t trying, because they are, but the level of performance and the results are just not happening for us.”
Rangers now face Montrose twice in the space of four days. The teams will line up at Links Park on Saturday before squaring up at Shielfield in another re-arranged game on Tuesday.
Berwick recently brought in midfielder John Grant from Alloa. Stuart Callaghan has returned to the side after six months out with a broken ankle, and striker Damon Gray is back at Shielfield after his full-time contract expired in Sweden.
All three started Saturday’s match against Annan, but Crease says further changes may be necessary.
“I know the transfer window has closed,” he added, “but there are still ways and means of bringing in new players (loan deals) and I am still actively looking at two players to strengthen our squad for the final months of the season.”
One of them, Steven Roseborough, played as a trialist on Tuesday.
“We are now starting out on a hectic period (Berwick face 14 games in seven weeks after the fixture list was rescheduled last week) and it’s going to stretch us,” said Crease.