Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland v Morocco: We’re worthy of a call-up, says Patterson

By Graham Luney

It may not have been a classic and it’s a game that won’t live long in the memory of most at a wet and windy Windsor Park, but Rory Patterson will certainly look back fondly at the visit of Morocco.

Former Coleraine striker Patterson was thrilled to net his first goal for Northern Ireland, slotting home a late spot-kick with consummate ease.

It helped save the blushes of substitute keeper Alan Blayney whose howler handed the Africans the lead on a plate.

But Plymouth Argyle marksman Patterson ensured that Nigel Worthington’s men escaped with a draw.

Now Patterson and the others who answered Worthington’s call to join up with the injury-ravaged squad, hope to have given the boss a selection headache.

“There are good young players coming through so it’s up to us to give him something to think about,” said Patterson.

“Michael (O’Connor) was looking at the penalty but he took two free-kicks and that was enough!

“I was thrilled to get off the mark. If there is a penalty to be taken I’ll step up.

“I can’t understand why people criticise friendlies, they give the manager a chance to look at different players. You can’t just throw new blood into a qualifier.”

Bournemouth striker Josh McQuoid earned his first cap and it’s whetted his appetite for more senior international action.

“It is a great honour for me, playing for the senior team and being part of the squad,” he said.

“It was a great experience and I felt I did ok, though I could have done better. I thought I coped well and pace is one of my attributes. It was a brilliant night for me.

“It’s up to the manager when he plays you but if I can keep playing well for my club, another call-up may follow.”

Morocco manager Eric Gerets was pleased with the visitors' performance and felt they deserved better.

The former Belgium defender said: “If one team deserved to win it would have been us but sometimes you need a bit of luck.

“It was a cheap penalty — you could have five penalties like that every game.”

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