Sign up to the Irish FA Newsletter today

Keep up-to-date with all the latest news from the Irish FA including ticket updates, match information, competitions, articles and much more.
Thank you

Monday 08 Aug 2022
NI Player Watch: Rangers boss praises Davis display

Northern Ireland skipper Steven Davis inspired Rangers to a comfortable 2-0 victory over Kilmarnock at the weekend as the 37-year-old made his first appearance of the season for Giovanni Van Bronckhorst’s side.

After the game the veteran midfielder, who signed a new one-year deal with the club earlier in the summer, received huge praise from Van Bronckhorst for his influential performance.

“It was his first start this season but you still see the ability and quality that he has,” enthused the former Dutch international. “He showed that again today. I’m pleased with his performance.

“Of course, he was one of the players after last season that we had to sit down with him and talk about his future. With the age he has, it is always good to leave it until the end of the season and he felt he had more in him for his future.

“I am really happy he stayed on because you have to be mentally ready to play a new season and a year. He looked strong and he is just being himself. The performance was really good.”

Elsewhere in the Scottish Premiership Matty Kennedy provided the assist for Aberdeen’s third goal as they defeated St Mirren 4-1 at Pittodrie. The Buddies had goalkeeper Trevor Carson in their starting line-up.

Liam Boyce and Michael Smith both started in the Edinburgh derby for Hearts which finished in a 1-1 draw while in the Scottish Championship Niall McGinn was an unused substitute as Dundee recorded a 1-0 victory at Raith Rovers.

In England, the Premier League got underway with new Leicester City skipper Jonny Evans having to be satisfied with a point after Brendan Rodgers’ side relinquished a 2-0 lead at home to Brentford.

In the Championship, Daniel Ballard and Corry Evans both started in Sunderland’s 3-2 success at Bristol City while Paddy McNair came off the bench for his first appearance of the campaign as Middlesbrough fell to a 3-2 loss at QPR.

In League One, Conor Bradley chalked up an assist for the second game in a row as Bolton Wanderers won 3-0 at home to Wycombe. Striker Dion Charles missed the game through injury.

“He’s got a slight thigh strain,” explained Wanderers boss Ian Evatt. “He felt it tight on Wednesday, but felt he was okay the next day.

“However, we decided to get it scanned to make sure there was nothing underlying and basically, it’s just a strain.

“Nothing too major. We think probably about a week and then he’ll be back in.”

Also managing an assist at the weekend was Chelsea's on-loan central defender Sam McClelland who came off the bench just a quarter of an hour into Barrow’s 3-2 win at Bradford City to maintain their 100 per cent start to the new season.

Former Northern Ireland U21 international Lewis McCann scored twice to take his tally to five for the season as Dunfermline Athletic won 3-0 at FC Edinburgh. Jamie Reid was also on target when he hit an injury-time winner for Stevenage at home to Stockport County whose scorer was another former U21 international Callum Camps.

Chris Conn Clarke, who is on loan at Altrincham from Fleetwood Town, scored on his debut for the club in their draw at home to Maidstone in the National League while defender Finn Cousin Dawson, who is on a five-month loan at Spennymoor, made his first appearance for the National League North outfit as they opened their campaign with a draw at Hereford.

Finally, Charlie McCann hit a brace for Rangers ‘B’ team in their 3-2 Lowland League victory against Cowdenbeath and Randalstown-born Sean McAllister was on target for Everton’s U21 team as they won their opening fixture 2-0 at home to Blackburn Rovers.