Today we play a little club by the name of Rangers ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rangers_F.C. ) in the Betfred 2nd Round. As a team in game they don’t look much like what they are IRL currently. Stevie Gerrard is now at Huddersfield in game, Jack Ross (Alloa, St. Mirren, Sunderland and in the last couple of weeks Hibs) is the Rangers manager currently, and they’ve not had a good start to the season; P2 D1 L1 plus sneaking past Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League on away goals just 2 days ago, meaning they may put out a weakened squad – Their 4th Qual Rnd 1st leg v Viktoria Plzen is this Thursday-coming in game. They came second to Celtic last season and the season before that also.
In our absence there were 4 games in League 2 yesterday – Brechin & Cowdenbeath both winning, while Elgin, our next opponents in the league in 3 days time slipped up against Stranraer. Cowdenbeath & Brechin will be the ones to keep up with this season IMO.
And what about this for a carrot – if we can somehow get past Rangers that other little Glasgow side Celtic awaits in the Quarter Finals………
Lets be clear – I expect nothing from this game except a nice pay-day. I’ve rested a few of the boys (Allan in for Slaven, Gardiner for Cornelius, Munro for Morrison) plus we will be playing the 4-3-3 Gegenpress v Elgin in a few days in the League so a few more will rotate in for that (Balde, McLaughlin, McIlduff) but I want to give a good account of ourselves. So we stay with the balanced possession tactic that has gotten us wins v Queen of the South & Dundee. Obvious man for man none of my players get near the Rangers squad, but we are definitely more than the sum of our parts.
Rangers go with a 3-4-3 – Looking at their team they aren’t taking us particularly seriously…..
HT Rangers 1 (Kelly 45+2) Berwick 0
OK – Rangers hit the bar in the 2nd minute from a corner and looked capable of scoring at any moment, but McGrath was causing a few problems up top, and Munro also had a brilliant opportunity to score. Rangers are definitely on a different level to anybody we’ve played against this season, and we nearly went in at HT 0-0, but Rangers scored after a free kick was saved well by Allison, Kelly pouncing on the rebound. 1-0 Rangers at HT, the boys have been amazing in defence so far, and we’ve had a couple of chances. Dare to dream! Orru on for Watt, also tweaked a few bits (Early Crosses on, Gone wider, Standard passing, front line higher)
FT Rangers 2 (Kelly 45+2, Polster 79) Berwick 0 Att 30,680 (220 Away)
We just couldn’t get hold of the ball, so I changed to a more counter-attcking, harrying type of play, and we started making a few inroads. Cornelius on for Barr, Slaven for Allan on 70. Unfortunately rangers made it 2 in the 79th minute, a header from a corner again well saved, Polster getting the rebound. But we kept on coming, and Allison was having another tremendous game. It finished 2-0, both goals from the breakdown of set-pieces, versus a team with a number of internationals. Really chuffed with the boys. And almost 31,000 people in the ground to see it as well!!
xG’s – I forgot to collate the Dundee data last time out, so here it is with the Rangers data.
Dundee – 1.214 xG v 1 goal, 1.920 v 1 goal xGSoT, 5.467 v 5 Shots on target
Rangers – 0.695 xG v 0 goals, 1.082 xGSoT v 0 Goals, 3.096 v 2 Shots on target
Both games below average – surprised that the Dundee game gave an xG of 1.2, though we did have three shots from zone 3 and two from zone 5. We only had 2 shots on target v Rangers, but 14 shots in total v Dundee & Rangers is a pretty good return from a balanced possession based tactic v bigger/much bigger rep opposition.
So, another almost £35k in prize money 🙂 And now for the biggie!!!!
About £350k after VAT from the gate from Ibrox!!! Looking at the income screen the gate receipts from this season alone (August 16th in game now!) is almost 4 times the total of last season’s receipts! And we’ve made almost as much prize money in the Betfred this season (£61.6k) than in total across all competitions last season (£74.5k). The future is looking bright for Berwick 🙂
Next up we play Elgin Away in 3 days – straight back into league action versus a team who have started the season well (W2 D1 L1). I f we can play half as well as we have in these last 2 cup games though we should be able to get a result. See you then.