Ross Graham declares: ‘We must start games faster’

After recently breaking into the first-team, Ross Graham has declared his next target is to earn a contract extension through his performances on the park.

Ross is looking to build on his performances to earn a new deal

Ross is looking to build on his performances to earn a new deal

The left-sided defender admitted: “I initially signed on a 6 month pay-as-you-play deal due to my new job as a Police Officer. It’s been a difficult start finding the work/football ratio. There have been several times I was supposed to make my debut  but couldn’t due to work commitments.

“I’ve missed three weeks because of this, but I’m grateful to my sergeant at the police for rectifying the problem, as I’ve now managed to switch shifts to accommodate Saturdays, meaning I should be available for seletction.

“But I know I’ve still got work to do. I’m hoping by the time my contract does come to an end something will be in place to further extend my time with Berwick.”

Ross has started both of the ‘Gers previous two games, featuring in central defence and adding a stability to the back four that has seen Berwick pick up 4 out of a possible 6 points.

“I signed quite late in pre-season so I think I was always playing catch-up with the rest of the lads initially. I definitely prefer playing out at left back, but competition there is tight with Ross Drummond and Graeme Beveridge both looking solid.

“The gaffer has asked me to play through the centre recently as I’m an orchestrator vocally, and I think he felt we needed an authoritarian figure to tighten things up a little.

“Although left back is undoubtedly my favoured position, I’m happy to play where the boss asks me to. I think it shows a lot of trust in my ability on the park, so it’s confidence-boosting in that respect.

“The manager and Jase (Jason Dair) have been brilliant so far. They’ve installed an excellent team ethos, style of play and work rate in the boys, and we believe that if we continue to play like we have but remove the silly goals we’ve been conceding, that we will still be up there challenging for the title come the end of the season.

“It’s also been a great experience playing with my brother, Finn. It’s not just something we enjoy and relish as brothers, but it’s a proud moment for our family who attend games regularly.”

After joining the ‘Gers in the Summer from Montrose, Ross admits he still has a soft-spot for his former side:

“Montrose as a club is excellent. The staff behind the scenes put a lot of time in and the service they provide is

Ross joined after breaking through at Montrose

Ross joined after breaking through at Montrose

fantastic for players.

“When I signed on I was working under George Shields & Lee Wilkie, and I was really enjoying things. They gave me my first experience in senior football and I’ll always be grateful for that.

“Unfortunately that pair parted company with the club and Paul Hegarty & John Holt took charge. Their player management and philosophy were totally different and I think it showed with the decline in spirit in the dressing room.

“But even though I didn’t enjoy my time under them, I was delighted with the club’s retention of their SPFL status and I wish them all the best in the future. That said, I was delighted we beat them first game of the season, there was no love lost there!”

On more recent events, Ross expands: “Saturday’s result was unconvincing, admittedly. But all the same it was a vital three points for the boys.

“Of late we’ve been conceding very soft and cheap goals, and it creates an uphill task for us to take something from the games.

“Our ability going forward is hard to question. The characters within our team are delivering most weeks.

“So it’s pretty obvious to me that if we can stop conceding cheap goals early in games, and instead start games on the front-foot and maybe take an early lead, we’ll start to go on to earn convincing victories.

“With the ability and attitude of this squad, I’ve no doubt that we will be challenging for the title, and at very least make the play-offs come the end of the season still.

“And you never know, the gaffer might even see my Bixente Lizarazu-esque ability and give me an opportunity to bomb up and down the left flank, too!”