McAuley Joins Gers

Veteran Centre-Half Signs One Year Deal at Ibrox!!!

Well, it’s eventually happened. Gareth McAuley has put pen to paper this afternoon at Rangers becoming Steven Gerrard’s second significant Northern Irish signing in a matter of weeks.

Much like compatriot Kyle Lafferty’s move to Glasgow from Hearts last month, it was widely reported that Ibrox was Larne man McAuley’s destination of choice.

The 38 year-old has spent the last seven seasons in the Premier League with West Brom, becoming one of the Midlands club’s most lauded players in that time.

McAuley, who has 79 Northern Irish caps to his name, started his career at Linfield, but failed to make a league appearance for the Blues before impressive spells with Crusaders and Coleraine saw him earn a chance across the Irish Sea in 2004.

League Two Lincoln City purchased the then 24 year-old for £10,000 – who signed his first professional terms at Sincil Bank.

His progression was rapid and bagged himself a move to Leicester City of the Championship when his contract at Lincoln ran out in the summer of 2006.

He was snapped up by Ipswich Town when Leicester were relegated to League One at the end of the 07-08 season, before his step up to the Premier League in 2011.

McAuley, who became the first Northern Irish player to score at an international tournament in 30 years with his header against Ukraine at Euro 2016, joins a Rangers side still reeling from yesterday’s Old Firm defeat away to arch-rivals Celtic.

Gerrard will no doubt hope the signing of McAuley will add some Premier League quality to a backline who at times have seemed a tad jittery in the early games of the season.

Having conceded three sloppy goals at Tynecastle last weekend, the Gers rode their luck at times yesterday at Celtic Park, despite only falling to Olivier Ntcham’s second half strike.

Having signed on Monday afternoon, McAuley will now link up with his international teammates in Belfast. Michael O’Neill’s side play their first game of the UEFA Nations League when they play Bosnia and Herzegovina at Windsor Park next Saturday, before hosting Israel in a friendly international on Tuesday evening.

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