Manager John Coughlin has admitted that he’s looking for members of his Under 20’s side to impress as the ‘Gers squad continues to be tested by injuries.
Both Barry Hogg and Ben Stirling have picked up knocks over the past week, and with Sean Mackie and Graeme Beveridge also sidelined the ‘Gers boss was at Shielfield Park last night to take in a 4-3 victory over Stirling Albion Under 20’s.
But despite the result leaving the ‘Gers as the only side to maintain a 100% winning record in the Development League East, Coughlin admitted he was surprised by a poor second-half showing from Derek McKenzie’s youth side.
“It was a real game of two halves. We started like a house on fire. The team enjoyed a great win away to Livingston the week before, and carried that into the game with 3 goals the opening 20 minutes.
“In fact I felt we could and maybe should have been 4 or 5 up by half-time. But we came out in the second-half looking a different team. We looked nervous, lost a bad goal and let them back into the game, and they sensed the chance to form a comeback.
“In honesty, the penalty kick came at a good time for us and gave us a bit of breathing space to see it out. But I suppose you do get a little disappointed from that. The youth coaches told me after the game they’d never been so disappointed with a win, and I know how they feel because I was like that a couple of weeks back after our win over Edinburgh City.”
Coughlin, who was back in Berwick today to provide a Berwick Rangers Academy coaching session, clearly rates the manner in which his side’s secure a result highly on his agenda as he continues: “But it demonstrates how important performance is. We want the young players to learn and we want to push out first-team players from that. That’s why I’m there watching every game.
“I’m looking for the next addition to our squad. It’s paper thin at the minute, so I’m watching games to see who has the potential to make that jump into the first-team. That’s why it’s important they put on a performance and maintain concentration levels – especially whilst I’m there looking on.
“But in their credit, we’ve clearly got off to a good start, and what I know is that our youth squad is in an unbelievable position compared to this time last season.
“We’ve got a lot of talent signed with the club and that’s a testament to the work that Derek McKenzie and his coaches have been putting in, and I am confident that we will reap the rewards of that work over the coming months and years.”