Watching Glasgow Rangers’ Gareth McAuley playing the full game for Northern Ireland against Austria, was a real pleasure for the Ibrox faithful.
The 38-year-old showed his class as a top rated centre half, and I’m sure the Light Blues fans watching the game, got the feeling the veteran is going to be an important player for Rangers this season.
You could see he is now match fit, very experienced and he kept his cool under heavy pressure. McAuley certainly got stuck in and looked totally committed to the cause.
He has followed up on that promising 45-minute second half showing after very successfully replacing Nikola Katic against a decimated, and tough tackling Motherwell side.
This was a good display from defender McAuley at a much higher international level against Austria, and should persuade Gerrard to start him this week.
Unfortunately for the Irish side, a Valentino Lazaro scored the winner with the last kick of the ball in the 93rd minute to unluckily lose 2-1.
The late strike was enough to win the Nations League clash for Austria against Northern Ireland as the Irish fans in Windsor Park were distraught at this outcome after fully deserving a draw – but it wasn’t to be.
It was a heartbreaking end after what had been a positive performance from Michael O’Neill’s side.
Rangers striker Kyle Lafferty was introduced for the last 20 minutes to replace Boyce, but didn’t manage to score during that last stage of the tie.
Hopefully, both Rangers players will now return to Ibrox without any further injuries, after their recent exertions against international opposition.
McAuley was up against players like Marko Arnautovic, the very expensive West Ham Premier league man, and the big stopper more than held his own.
It is now up to Steven Gerrard, to decide whether he will start for Rangers for the first time ever, against Livingston in the next Ibrox match – roll on Saturday.