Reds will tread new ground on Saturday when they play at Shieldfield Park for the first time in the inaugural meeting against Scottish Lowland League outfit, Berwick Rangers.
Although Berwick is situated a good two miles south of the Scottish Border, the club were long time members of the Scottish League until their relegation two years ago. They now play in the same league as Gretna but will also play Rangers’ and Celtic’s B teams this term.
Rangers should be well ahead in terms of fitness levels as they prepare to start their league campaign the following week. They have two recent 3-1 victories to their credit, overcoming Dundee United’s Development Squad and North Shields, whilst a fixture against a Hearts XI had to be cancelled because of the Covid protocol.
Steven Rudd will rely on a similar squad to the one that gained a narrow 1-0 success at Penrith last week for the game in north-east Northumberland, although there could be a couple of absentees due to pre-arranged holidays.
Supporters travelling to the game could either go on the A7 and through the Scottish Borders for a journey of about 120 miles or via Newcastle and the A1which is approximately thirty miles longer.
Links between the clubs are few and far between although the likes of Jock Wallace, Ken Bowron and Blair Henderson have represented both clubs during their respective careers.
Bowron scored well over a century of goals for Rangers during the late fifties and sixties, including 49 during the 63-64 season, after starting his career with Newcastle United. He signed for Reds in December 1965 and scored on his debut in a 3-3 draw at York City but his only other league goal for us was in a 2-0 home win over Mansfield Town at the end of the ’65-66 campaign.
Although he scored freely for the Reserves, he didn’t make the breakthrough to the first team and, with just two goals in eleven appearances over two seasons, he returned to Berwick.
The only other tenuous connection was that Eric Tait, Rangers’ record appearance holder, goal scorer and former manager, attended a Workington game at Blyth Spartans a few years ago and I (Steve Durham) had the pleasure of being introduced to him.
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