Shielfield Park hosts League Two side Berwick Rangers’ next home league fixture this afternoon, with the Borderers facing second-bottom Edinburgh City in a crunch game which could see the Wee Gers move up into the promotion play-off places if results go their way.
Berwick, who haven’t yet defeated Edinburgh City this season, will be missing at least one key player this afternoon with Robby McCrorie on International Duty with Scotland Under-21’s.
“From a selfish point of view, it is disappointing we will miss him for our game today but there is no way you can put a negative spin on Robby’s call-up. For a club like Berwick to be represented internationally and for Robby to be recognised for his performances this season, it is fantastic. This justifies the decision, in my opinion, from Rangers to send him out on loan. His call-up is merited as well as he has been phenomenal since he arrived in the summer. His performances have been outstanding.
Not only will clubs be inclined to send their players out on loan to us, the players themselves may be happier to go along with it as well because they see Berwick as a move which can be positive as they will see that they can improve as well as getting the exposure and experience they require to continue their progression and development. Getting game-time and playing consistently well in League Two has been shown by Robby’s call-up as not being a barrier to getting international recognition. They know they will get their opportunity if they are doing well so it is absolutely a good thing for these lads to get out and get games against experienced professionals rather than plying their trade in the Development League against guys their own age.”
Allan hopes this weekend can be third time lucky for the Borderers who hope to continue their good recent run of form.
“It will probably come down to, again, the same things that our most recent results have. There won’t be a lot in it and they will be trying to impress their new manager who is looking to turn their fortunes around. We are trying to stay away from the tail end of the league as it is not a nice place to be as there is a lot of pressure when you are down there so the longer we can stay away from that area of the table, the better. A win on Saturday would go a long way to doing that and allow us to keep in touch with the teams at the top.
It is fine margins; the last league game, they scored very early from a free-kick. From our perspective, we thought we played quite well after that and had the majority of the play. We maybe didn’t create enough despite the possession we had that day. They are absolutely a team who are capable of defending a lead so we can’t give any cheap goals away. They are just as capable as anyone else in this league to pick up points against any other team in the league so we are fully focused on getting a positive result this afternoon.”
Despite the healthy points advantage over today’s visitors to Shielfield Park, Allan confirms that he and the rest of the Wee Gers’ coaching staff are not taking James McDonough’s side lightly.
“I don’t think there is any team in League 2 who can go into any league match, not play at 100% and expect to come away with a positive result. It can come down to who does well at the dirty side of the game, as well as who makes the least mistakes. You tend to find when a team manages to produce all these elements, they come out victorious. We need to make sure we are set-up well and do the basics right if we are to give ourselves a chance of winning, come 5pm this evening.”
“The fans have been great over the last few weeks,” concludes the 40-year-old. “I think they are the same as every other group of supporters: they want their team to do well and work hard. I think sometimes, people get caught up with all the football on TV these days from the big leagues in England and Spain or when the Champions League is on; I know for some it is a lot of money to spend £12 or £13 to watch football completely the opposite of that, but, in this division, it is hard to do it. It is more like a war of attrition at this level where if you win the battle, your quality can then shine through. We don’t discourage the players to play good football, as we want them to, but, sometimes the conditions just aren’t made for it. If it is boggy under-foot or blowing a gale, that style of play just isn’t on, unfortunately. Ultimately, though, if we win and the players give 100%, our fans go away happy and that is the main thing.”