IAN Little had nothing but praise for his battling Berwick brigade after going down to Rangers at Ibrox.
The Borderers boss said: “Every member of the team played their part and you cannot ask for more than that. The fact remains we lost and the important thing now is we bounce straight back – and with two home games in a row that’s just what we will be aiming to do.
“We stood up to the challenge and were not disgraced in any way.”.
Little admitted: “They were horrible goals we lost to. In the first half we did alright but there was not much of a threat going forward, although Kevin McDonald did have the ball in the net when we were only one down.
“It was chalked off for a foul which I felt was a bit harsh.
“We were miles better in the second half even when we went three down and to everyone’s credit they kept fighting and when we got back to 3-2 we really were in the hunt.
“Rangers have quality and tremendous pace and when they hit back straight away I was devastated.”
The hosts – who are unbeaten at Ibrox in the league – took only nine minutes to find the target.
Chris Townsley failed to deal with a cross which Fran Sandaza got a foot to and Andy Little pounced to unleash a shot from an acute angle, which went through Ian McCaldon’s legs, to claim the first of his hat-trick.
Minutes later the keeper did well to deny Sandaza.
Little bagged his second two minutes after the break, flicking a powerful cross from David Templeton past McCaldon, and Templeton notched number three after 53 minutes after neat build-up play from Little and Sandaza.
But then Berwick stunned the majority of the 45,000 crowd with two goals in eight minutes.
Substitute Ross Gray had only been on the pitch 60 seconds when he reduced the arrears on 65 minutes with a low strike into the corner of the net from the edge of the box, with McDonald the provider after Darren Lavery had been denied by keeper Neil Alexander.
Then Fraser McLaren – who scored the equaliser against Rangers at Shielfield Park earlier in the season – pulled another one back in 73 minutes, rising at the near post to head home a Lee Currie corner.
Berwick fans’ hopes of a sensational fightback were dashed a minute later though, when Little completed his hat-trick with a fierce 12-yard strike which left the Wee Gers goalkeeper helpless.
Rangers might have added another two in the dying stages but Templeton struck an upright and Sandaza was unlucky not to add his name to the scoresheet.
RANGERS: Alexander, Hegarty (Faure 55), Perry, Emilson Cribari, Wallace, Little, Hutton, Macleod, Templeton (Crawford 83), Shiels (Aird 75), Sandaza. Subs (not used): Currie, Naismith.
Booked: Macleod. Goals: Little 9, 47, Templeton 53, Little 74.
BERWICK: McCaldon, Jacobs, Townsley, McLean, Gielty, McLaren, Lee Currie, Janczyk (Notman 79), McDonald, Easton (Gray 64), Lavery (Dean Currie 64). Subs (not used): McCallum, Hoskins.
Booked: Jacobs, Lee Currie. Goals: Gray 65, McLaren 73.
Referee: Steven McLean Attendance: 44,976