Securing league status is huge relief to all connected with club
Everyone connected with Berwick Rangers was able to breathe a collective sigh of relief on Saturday when the club secured their league status.
Rangers had been in danger of finishing bottom of the table and facing the lottery of the dreaded relegation play-offs.
But substitute David Verlaque scored a last gasp injury time winner to give Rangers a 3-2 victory over Edinburgh City, guaranteeing all three points which meant they finished above Cowdenbeath in the second division basement stakes.
Manager John Coughlin was naturally delighted at the outcome and afterwards he said: “It was all about the result today and staying in the league.
“We played particularly well in the first half and deserved our 2-0 lead, but Edinburgh enjoyed a lot more possession after the break and we let them back into the match with two soft goals.
“That has been a fault of ours this season, and it looked like it might lead to our downfall when they got back to 2-2.
“I don’t mind admitting it, but it was squeaky bottom time for a while.
“It was a very nervous end to the match, but thankfully David (Verlaque) popped up to net the winner in injury time, and suddenly all the pressure had gone.
“I didn’t want to be seen as the manager who took the team into the play-offs and jeopardise everything that the club is trying to build for the future. We have big plans here, but to achieve them we need to have a team playing in the Scottish League.
“It was an anxious afternoon for me, and the supporters, players and directors as well.
“But we came through it and now we can look forward to next season. We just have to make sure we are never in this position again.”
Berwick went into the game knowing that only a point from a draw would be good enough to see them finish above Cowdenbeath.
First half goals from Darren Lavery and Greg Rutherford put them in the driving seat and helped ease the pressure.
But Edinburgh hit back with two goals in the second half before Verlaque snatched the winner two minutes into injury time.
“I have a long association with this club,” said Coughlin, “and this result means everything to me. Now, once the dust has settled, we need to sit down and look towards next season.”
Chairman Len Eyre said: “I have been nervous thinking about this day for some time now. I haven’t been able to sleep with worry as to what might happen, so thankfully we have come through it.
“It is a big result for the club, the supporters and the town. I am pleased for everyone in the knowledge that we will be taking our place in the league again next season.
“It would have been unthinkable for Berwick to go out the league, as personally I don’t think they would have got back in again.
“It would have been detrimental to the town and any plans the Football Club would like to pursue.
“There is quite a bit going on behind the scenes at the moment, but for everything to work we need to have certain things in place, and being in the league is fundamental to everything.”
Jonny Fairbairn, the former club captain, who is the only Berwick-based player in the first team squad added: “I think everyone can breathe a collective sigh of relief now.
“It has been a difficult few weeks and there has been pressure on everyone, but now we can hopefully put it behind us and concentrate on what might happen next season.
“Everyone has handled the situation in their own way, all I have done is try and concentrate on one game at a time, but I know there are others who have been looking at the bigger picture.
“It’s easy to see why we have found ourselves in this position - we have conceded too many soft goals, had too many players sent off and lacked any sort of consistency. We knew what we had to do, but we made hard work of it in the second half. Thankfully, we came through and it was a massive result.
“For me personally, I am a little disappointed the season is ending now. I was a regular in the team at the start of the season, but then I got injured around Christmas and it is only over the past few weeks that I have managed to get back into the team again.
“I am one of several players on a two year contract, so hopefully next season we can right a few wrong, because it goes without saying that we don’t want to be in this position again.”