Ibrox windfall leaves Berwick beaming

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The Independent Football

Berwick Rangers will earn a six-figure lifeline sum thanks to their draw with their more famous namesakes from Glasgow on Tuesday night.

Berwick had been guaranteed more than £100,000 whatever the score at their Shielfield Park ground, because the Tennent's Scottish Cup third-round tie against Rangers had been shown live on Sky Sports.

But the unexpected Ibrox replay on Monday night will put more money into the part-timers' coffers, although thousands of Rangers fans are sure to stay away after Tuesday night's performance.

It is the sort of windfall that can keep a small club afloat for years but their chairman Jamie Curle – whose livestock business was almost wiped out by foot-and-mouth, said Tuesday was about sporting achievement, not bank balances. Curle, who also witnessed his side's legendary 1967 Scottish Cup defeat of Rangers, said: "It was absolutely wonderful. We proved we can put on a show for the world and our players competed well against the multi-million pound players of Rangers.

"I know people will look at the money we will get from the game at Ibrox but that doesn't concern me. We are in the entertainment industry and although we weren't particularly entertaining we got an incredible result. That has made me a very proud man."

Rangers named six full internationals in their starting line-up plus another four on the bench but found no way past Paul Smith's collection of lower-league stalwarts, whose previous clubs included East Fife, Cowdenbeath and Bonnyrigg Rose. Alex McLeish's highly-paid stars hardly broke sweat in a performance their manager admitted was pedestrian.

Berwick in contrast defended like dervishes, with their captain Alan Neill named man of the match and the defender Neil Bennett throwing himself in the way of shots, often with painful consequences.

"I thought every one of my players rolled his sleeves up and dug in," Curle said. "But I hope they haven't swapped their shirts at the end because I can't afford to buy new ones."

Of Rangers' outfield players, only the acting captain Lorenzo Amoruso emerged with any credit, although his shooting was as woeful as ever. The Norwegian striker Tore Andre Flo failed to score from a free header in the first half and his strike partner Michael Mols found chances even harder to come by.

Mols was the only member of the Ibrox Dutch colony to start, with Ronald de Boer on the bench, Bert Konterman suspended and Fernando Ricksen and Arthur Numan absent through illness and injury.

One Rangers fan, a veteran of more than a thousand games, stomped off at the final whistle declaring it was the worst performance he had ever seen from his team.

Optimists can clutch at a statistical straw by recalling that a few months after the 1-0 humiliation in 1967 Rangers went on to reach a European final.

McLeish's inherited side are in the last 16 of the Uefa Cup and take on Feyenoord next month. Before that, the replay winners will be at home to Hibernian, who defeated Stranraer 4-0 at Easter Road on Tuesday night at the second attempt after their 0-0 draw at Stair Park.

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