Jordan Jones is a matter of weeks away from reporting to his first training session as a Rangers player.
He looks fit and raring to go, too, judging by his game-changing performance for Northern Ireland on Saturday.
64 minutes into their away fixture against Estonia, the Green and White Army were trailing 2-0 with qualification hopes quickly fading. However, at that moment, Michael O’Neill turned to Jones.
N.I threw caution to the wind. Michael Smith of Hearts was withdrawn, Stuart Dallas shifted to right-back and the ex-Killie star given license in his preferred left-wing berth.
With that move, the entire dynamic of the match shifted.
Estonia right-back, Taijo Teniste, who had a fairly easy time of it for the first hour, was suddenly out of his depth.
Jones brought pace and directness and immediately began raining crosses in from the flank.
Initially, he didn’t have much success. His first cross was overhit, and the second time around, he perhaps could have gone himself from a tight angle after the keeper committed himself early.
Jones changed the game
Yet, persistence was to pay off. When Connor Washington’s shot deflected in off Josh Magennis on 77 minutes, hopes of an important victory were raised.
Then, just three minutes later, a moment of magic from Jones helped secure the three points.
He dipped the shoulder and ghosted past his marker, before squaring an inch-perfect cross to Magennis in the six-yard box. The Bolton forward applied the finishing touch and N.I held on at the end to maintain their 100% record in Group C.
— Northern Ireland (@NorthernIreland) June 8, 2019
They have nine points from three matches in group C and for now, at least, qualification hopes remain well and truly alive.
As the game drew to a close, Sky Sports commentator Steve Lomas said on Jones: “I’m sure if any Glasgow Rangers fans are watching they are looking forward to seeing this guy play.”
One thing’s for sure, if he regularly makes contributions of that calibre, he’ll soon be an Ibrox favourite.