Club News

Joyous McAuley relives historic goal

And Albion favourite is planning a robot dance!

ALBION favourite Gareth McAuley is promising the Peter Crouch robot celebration if he scores again in Northern Ireland's Euro 2016 campaign.

Baggies fans shared the delight of McAuley and Jonny Evans who again delivered lynchpin performances to give their nation a real chance of now qualifying for the Round of 16 following the 2-0 defeat of Ukraine.

But it was Mcauley who wrote his name into the history books by becoming Northern Ireland's first ever goalscorer at the European Championship finals.

A majestic header Albion fans will know only too well paved the way for a joyous victory and McAuley, who will be back for another season at The Hawthorns after signing a one year extension before the Euros, said: "I could see it coming all the way and I thought to myself, 'Goal...don't miss.

"I got a fantastic connection on it. I remember that bit crystal clear, but the rest is a blur.

"I did get a slide on my stomach. That's something I always wanted to do, so that's off the bucket list. It was incredible and even more special to do it at that end of the ground. The noise the fans created was spectacular, but it was even greater when we scored.

"I might do that robot that Crouchy was doing (next time)!"

The Albion defenders were again outstanding for Northern Ireland earning widespread praise for their marshalling of the defence and composure under pressure in a much-improved display.

The goalless draw between Germany and Poland means that while Ukraine are now eliminated, Northern Ireland are a point behind their other group rivals.

They face Germany in the last game but could even qualify as one of the "best third" placed teams with their three points depending on results across all the other groups.

McAuley is delighted, however, that Northern Ireland came bouncing back after a flat start and defeat by Poland in the opening game.

"I'm so proud of the players and coaching staff," he said.

"People maybe didn't give us a chance and said we wouldn't get a point, so it's always nice to turn the screw and prove a few people wrong. To me, that's what Northern Ireland is about.

"It's about being the underdog, scrapping and fighting. The most pleasing thing is that was a Northern Ireland performance out there.

"The lads have been hurting since the first game. We let one get past us against Poland and if we had taken a point...different story. We felt we let an opportunity slip against the Poles but you saw a great reaction.

"That's a mark of a good team. You lick your wounds but you react and respond; y ou come out and put on a Northern Ireland performance."