Defender's return bolsters Rangers' options, but international performance proves he's not ready yet
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McAuley availability a bonus for Rangers, but rustiness clear in Northern Ireland defeat

Rangers’ Gareth McAuley is a cult hero in Northern Ireland. His name rang around around Windsor Park on Sunday evening, during his return to national team duties against Austria.

However, Rangers fans are yet seen much of their summer signing. He arrived carrying a calf injury, which has delayed the start to his Ibrox career.

(Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

After cameo appearances against Spartak Moscow and Motherwell, it appears he is finally making his way into contention.


As a result, there have been calls from fans to give him a start in the coming weeks, as Rangers look to overcome recent defensive woes.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Yet, the 38-year-old needs more time. He partnered Jonny Evans at the back on Sunday evening and the Austrian front men exposed his rustiness.

The usually solid home defence was breached on two occasions, initially by Xaver Schlager and then fatally in the 93rd minute, by Valentino Lazaro.

(Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

The 6 ft 5′ centre-back was often slow in possession and found himself caught out of position for the first goal.

With over 200 Premier League appearances, McAuley offers a lot when fully fit. However, he needs further time to build up sharpness before an inclusion in the Rangers starting line-up.

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