Match Preview: Berwick Rangers v Spartans – IRN BRU Cup

Berwick Rangers take on Lowland League side Spartans in the first round of the IRN BRU Cup tomorrow evening, and will be looking to earn their first competitive victory of the new campaign to take them through to the next round of the competition.

Manager John Coughlin revealed that he’s looking forward to a tie which he believes will have an added edge to it for a number of reasons.

“It’s massively important for us to get a result before we go into the Arbroath fixture on Saturday. It’s a nice fixture to have, it feels like a derby in some respects. Games against Spartans are always tough and for a long time they’ve always been the team to beat at that level of the game.

“I’m sure they’re trying to aspire to be that side again now that Edinburgh City have been promoted, and they’ll see us as a possible scalp.”

Berwick Rangers Team News:

Ben Stirling remains sidelined for this match after picking up an injury during Berwick’s 3-2 defeat to Kilmarnock last week.

A jubilant Fairbairn after the replay victory over Spartans.

The ‘Gers ran out 1-0 winners the last time the two sides met.

Defender Sean Mackie is unavailable for the clash at Hibernian’s request, but Michael McKenna will be available despite being shown red in the 2-0 loss to Greenock Morton at the weekend.

McKenna’s ill-discipline hasn’t gone unnoticed, as manager John Coughlin declared: “He’s going to have to work on his discipline or it’s going to cost him a lot of money!

“He is available tomorrow, but he’ll serve the ban in the Betfred Cup next season and he’s also ruled out of our league opener against Arbroath with a suspension carried over from last season.

“He’s got a lot of responsibility to take – he’s made things more difficult for his teammates on Saturday. But it’s as simple as this – there’s a fine system in operation and it will be implemented.

“For any indiscretions our players will be hit in the pocket. The only other way is to deal with it is to take him out of the team altogether – It’s something I’ve had to do that in the past and if I have to do that again I will.”

Spartans Team News:

Manager John Coughlin watched Spartans get their season off to a winning start at the weekend as the Edinburgh side downed Stirling University 3-0 courtesy of goals by Maxwell, Greenhill and Jamie Dishington.

Both sides will be out to progress to the 2nd round of the #IRNBRUCUP

Both sides will be out to progress to the 2nd round of the #IRNBRUCUP

“Spartans won the game fairly comfortably in the end. Scott Maxwell who’s a former lad I’ve had at East Stirlingshire and who had a spell at Berwick scored a very good goal, which I know he’s capable of doing in any game.

“David (Greenhill) and Chris (Townsley), Michael Herd were all playing, in fact there were probably 5-6 players that I’ve managed previously playing for them, so I’m sure these guys will be coming down looking to be hard to beat.

“Their manager Dougie Samuel and I also go back a long way. We’re around the same age and came up through the ranks together. That’ll add a competitive edge to things.”

Spartans also boast midfielders Craig Stevenson and Dean Horribine in addition to defenders Euan Saunderson and Eddie Malone amongst their ranks, all of whom have featured for the ‘Gers in some form previously.

Match Admission:

Please note that season tickets do not apply for cup matches. Admission prices have been set as follows.

Adults – £12

Concessions – £6

Season tickets for the 2016/17 campaign are still available to purchase. To buy, head over to our new official online club store, visit the club’s main office prior to the game or alternatively to apply for a season ticket via post, please send the following to Berwick Rangers F.C, Shielfield Park, Tweedmouth, Berwick-upon-Tweed, TD15 2EF.

Match Officials:

Duncan Smith will take charge of the clash, and will be assisted by both Graeme Leslie and Iain Snedden.

Enjoy the match!