BERWICK RANGERS 0 HIBERNIAN 2
Berwick wrapped up their pre-season programme against Neil Lennon’s SPFL Premiership Hibernian in front of an official Shielfield attendance of 1,206. Rangers were resplendent in their new kit complete with squad numbers. For example, skipper Pat Scullion wore number 28. The Hibs’ squad read like a Berwick Rangers Old Boys with Danny Swanson, Callum Crane, Sean Mackie, Ben Stirling and Danny Handling all having previously worn the black and gold. In addition, Rangers’ recent development loan signing Kevin Waugh found himself playing for his parent club against his SPFL 2 teammates, on one of whom, Greg Rutherford, he made a tremendous tackle inside the box early on after Hibs lost the ball.
Each side squandered a first half golden chance. With a little over quarter of an hour played, Swanson beat two men as he worked his way into the penalty area before hitting the deck. Referee Scott Millar awarded a penalty for a foul though not all spectators were convinced. Anyway, to laughter from even some of the Hibs’ fans, Brian Graham sent the kick high over the bar.
Berwick’s best opportunity came in open play. When Hibs again gave away possession, Andrew Irving passed on to Rutherford, left one on one with the keeper. The crowd expected him to shoot but once he determined to try to round Ross Laidlaw, it was almost inevitable that the the visitors’ defence would have time to regather which they did in numbers. Chance gone. Situations like this make the number nine’s tag of ‘striker’ seem a misnomer. Next time he was within range, Rutherford did go directly for goal but the ball rolled wide of the post.
Rangers’ first half goalie Robby McCrorie went down sharply to hold a glancing header from Olly Shaw. A spell of confident Hibs’ passing ended when Fraser Murray shook the post with a rocket shot from the edge of the area.
Twice in the second half, Oliver Fleming saved the home team. First, he got across to block Graham’s attempted shot just a few yards from goal. Next, he prevented Shaw from doing any further damage following a good run by Jermaine Pennant.
Jermaine Pennant gracing the Shielfield turf in last night’s friendly (pic by Ian Runciman)
Hibernian went on to score twice inside seven minutes. Luck was with them for the first one. A misunderstanding between keeper Sean Brennan and Ewan Herriot near the perimeter of the penalty area saw the ball falling to Handling who was left to score into an empty net. Shaw claimed the second goal after collecting a through ball and skipping past two Berwick men, linesman David Doig correct to ignore any suggestion that Shaw was offside.
Berwick Rangers Starting XI as per teamsheet: McCrorie, Fleming, Notman, Thomson, McDonald, Rutherford, McKenna, Phillips, Irving, Stewart, Scullion ( capt. )