Glasgow Rangers’ 38-year-old centre half Gareth McAuley, has admitted that he had an opportunity to stay in the English Premiership after he left West Brom.
McAuley’s, contract expired in the summer, and as an Ulster boyhood Rangers supporter, he decided to hold out for his rumoured move to Ibrox.
When he eventually got the call from Steven Gerrard to join the Light Blues, he almost burst with excitement at the thought of finally playing alongside his long-time heroes of the past.
The highly experienced Baggies defender had spent seven great years at the Hawthorns before being surprisingly released in June 2018. Many of their fans were furious at losing their captain to Scottish football.
McAuley has now fully recovered from the calf injury problem which hampered his fitness programme during the long summer break period.
He will surely be a huge bonus for Gerrard’s options as Rangers prepare for a heavy demanding schedule for the next five weeks.
He was introduced to the Ibrox crowd when he was replacing Nikola Katic for the second 45 minutes of the Motherwell game which Rangers won 7-1 and played exceptionally well.
This led to his starting X1 debut during the 3-0 win over Livingston last Saturday in the SPFL. Again he excelled, and looks to have made himself a fixture in the Rangers team for the foreseeable future.
McAuley admitted that his decision to join Rangers was to hopefully win some trophies, instead of fighting relegation battles down south.
“This was the club I wanted to come to”, McAuley told the Daily Record.
“There was a whisper at the end of last season that it might be a possibility so throughout the summer, I was knocking things back waiting to see if it’d happen.
“This was the one that gave me a spark and a buzz.
“I could have signed for another Premier League club but I’d probably have been involved in another relegation battle.
“I’d done that for the past seven years at West Brom. Success there is always staying up.
“It’s different here at Rangers. I’ve got the chance to win trophies, to have that different pressure of playing every week to win.
“Second isn’t good enough here and that’s why I came. Winning is my only aim.
“My family is still down in England so it’s all I’m focused on.”
McAuley and Connor Goldson are currently winning the battle for the two centre-back places in the Rangers team, along with Nikola Katic and Joe Worrall, the other defending contenders.