Coveted Rangers starlet Matthew Shiels enjoys debut victory with Tom Mohan's Ireland


The hotly-tipped Rangers prospect Matthew Shiels, who was at the centre of a tug-of-war between Ireland and Scotland at the weekend, made his debut with former Derry city winger Tom Mohan's Irish Under-19 side in Spain on Tuesday.

Shiels was part of the Ireland Under-19 head coach's starting eleven who helped secure a 1 - 0 victory over Romania in La Manga.

"It was a hard fought victory. We played some very good football. I thought the goalkeeper and the back four were very solid. The midfield worked extremely hard, as were the forwards. It was a very good team effort.

"We have seven players making their debut at Under-19s this year. It was a great opportunity for them and more will do so on Thursday," said Mohan, who won a league title with the Candystripes back in 1996/97.

While a goal from captain Dara O'Shea secured the victory for the Irish who wore black armbands in memory of the late former Cork City, Celtic and Manchester United midfielder, Liam Miller, the completion of 67 minutes by 17-year-old Glaswegian Shiels, was a major positive for Mohan.

Mohan now wants Shiels on board for another game against Romania on Thursday in La Manga as the U-19 squad prepares to take on Kosovo, Portugal and Slovakia in March for a place in the UEFA European Under-19 Championship finals in Finland.

Shiels was the subject of an intriguing tug-of-war between Ireland and Scotland at the weekend.

Named by Mohan as a striking option last Friday, Shiels tweeted simply: "Happy to be in the squad."

However, in a bizarre twist, Scottish U-19 manager Donald Park also named Shiels in his U-19 squad for clashes against Denmark and Austria that will also take place in Spain later this month.

Shiels, who was converted to left-back under the tutelage of the current Rangers manager Graeme Murty when he was looking after their U-20 squad last year, was named as a defender in Park's squad.

Tweeting his response to the Scotland call-up, Shiels, remarked with two laughing emojis.

Shiels, a native of Clydebank, was part of Murty's development squad which travelled to Armagh and Down for friendlies last summer.

Speaking at the time, he said: “It was good getting the experience over in Northern Ireland. It is a different type of football.

“Against Ards it was more of a challenge because they were more physical and right in about us, whereas Portadown played more football. So it was two different experiences."