Play-offs are still a target

Robbie Horn has been named assistant manager to Ian Little at Berwick Rangers and was in the dug out for his first match against Stranraer
Robbie Horn has been named assistant manager to Ian Little at Berwick Rangers and was in the dug out for his first match against Stranraer

BERWICK manager Ian Little says he has not given up on the play-offs, despite the loss of another two points at Shielfield on Saturday.

Rangers’ 2-2 draw against then league leaders Stranraer, was remarkably their fourth such scoreline in five games, and with no wins in their last six, it means they have picked up only four points out of a possible 18.

But speaking after the match Little said: “Yes, it is disappointing to lose so many points in the manner we have, as I feel some of the draws could have been wins and that would have put us in a far better position.

“But we’re not giving up on the play-offs just yet. There is still a long way to go and if we can put a run of results together we can get ourselves back up there challenging for the top four.”

Despite the loss of an early goal on Saturday, Rangers hit back to lead 2-1 at half-time. They then had a string of chances in the second half to extend their lead, misses which Little admits were costly, as Stranraer came back to equalise.

“I started out with three up front, but it was obvious after only five minutes it wasn’t working, so I went back to a 4-4-2,” he said.

“Straight away we were more competitive and we got ourselves in front with a tremendous free kick from Lee Currie.”

Currie had one of his best games in the black and gold, dominating midfield with his strong tackling and accurate passing, and he admitted afterwards the goal had given his confidence a boost.

“As soon as I hit it I realised it had a chance,” he said. “I have been trying with my free kicks with a while but without much success, so it was nice to get that one.

“It certainly gave me a lift but it was just disappointing we couldn’t finish them off in the second half with the chances we had.”

Little said Currie’s contribution to the game was ‘immense.’

“People say there is no real quality in the lower leagues in Scotland,” he said, “but they should take a look at the likes of Lee, who turns it on for us week in, week out. I’m just pleased to have him in our team.”

Little added: “The chances we missed were costly as they might have put us out of reach, but it was disappointing to lose a goal from such a long ball over the top, although some of the players felt there was a foul on Andy McLean in the build-up to their equaliser.”

Former Berwick player Robbie Horn was confirmed as Little’s new assistant late last week and the manager said he was delighted to have him on board.

“I am very grateful to the help I have had from Craig Valentine who has been with me since my appointment,” he said, “but I had been looking to bring Robbie in for a while.

“Like me, he has the best interests of the club at heart and wants to do well, but that doesn’t mean to say there is no place for Craig - I would like him to stay on in some capacity, but I will have to speak to the chairman about that one.”

Horn, who until last week was manager of East of Scotland League side Vale of Leithen, has signed a contract until the end of the season (May 31) which coincides with Little’s deal - but obviously, with Berwick being ambitious and striving for a place in the second division, the club will be keen for the pair to make an impact.

“We haven’t offered Ian and Robbie a deal beyond that date as we are obviously a results based business and we have to see how well they do,” said chairman Brian Porteous.

“That’s football. If they do well we will naturally be looking for them to carry on into next season, but what I can say at this stage is that so far, in the short time he has been in charge, I have seen a big change in Ian.

“He has grown into the role and has grown in confidence, which has been good to see.”

Horn, who played for Berwick for six years, and who was a member of the club’s 2007 championship-winning side said:

“Getting the opportunity to be assistant manager at Berwick was an offer I couldn’t refuse. It’s a big step up for me and it’s just great to be given a chance like this.

“However, it’s a wrench to leave the Vale as I have really enjoyed my time with the club.

“The Vale has a great committee and I have been fortunate to have had a good background staff and good squad of players. I am confident that they will do well for the remainder of the season and I wish the club all the best.

“I am now looking forward to working with ‘Yano’ (Little) and the players at Berwick and it is a new challenge for me.”