Rangers: Why Gareth McAuley's latest tweet will charm the Ibrox faithful
If his latest tweet is anything to go by, Northern Ireland star Gareth McAuley is still buzzing about his move to Rangers.
When he secured his switch to Ibrox on Monday, the veteran defender spoke in glowing terms about his love for the club he has followed since he was a boy. And yesterday he tweeted an image that will further endear him to Gers fans.
First posted by his proud mum on Facebook, McAuley published a picture of himself as a baby, clad in Rangers scarf and blanket. "Dreams really do come true," he wrote to his 39,000-plus followers on the social platform.
Here's a taste of how the fans responded to the tweet:
- A bear living the dream, nothing makes me happier than a rangers fan playing for the club, all the best - @_jamieRFC
- Welcome mate, Enjoy living the dream - @xKTJx
- And the tweet of the day award goes to... - @pipiping_Catt96
McAuley had been a free agent since leaving West Bromwich Albion in the summer following their relegation from the Premier League.
He was linked with moves to Hearts and Aberdeen but put pen to paper with Steven Gerrard's men.
Sections of the Ibrox faithful have questioned the move for the 38-year-old centre-back but, as any Northern Ireland or West Brom fan will testify, McAuley is class act and has a lot left in the tank.
Speaking to Rangers TV, the Larne man was asked how much it means for him be a Rangers player. "It's massive, personally. The street I was born on, the kerbs were painted red, white and blue so to get the opportunity to come and play at this famous club - it's amazing," he said.
McAuley, a hero among Northern Ireland fans, said he hopes his vast international and Premier League experience will be a positive influence on the younger players in Steven Gerrard's squad. "There's a young group of players here and I want to help them with my knowledge. I want to help them develop and also challenge them to play in the team," he said. “I didn’t think it would be in the latter stages of my career [I’d get the chance to play here], but the timing was good, everything has worked out and the last week has been a bit of a whirlwind.
“I have been linked with here over the years, but it has never come off for whatever reason – it’s perhaps an easy link for press men coming from Northern Ireland and the connection with Rangers."
McAuley is part of Michael O'Neill's 26-man squad for the Nations League opener against Bosnia on Saturday and, given the lack of game time he has had since his departure from the Baggies, could also be set to play a prominent role in the subsequent international friendly against Israel.
“There are two games coming up and hopefully I can get some minutes under my belt as well in them depending on what the manager thinks,” he added.