Belfast Telegraph

Rory proud despite disappointing defeat

By Paul Ferguson

Northern Ireland debut boy Rory Patterson endured a bitter-sweet evening in Tirana.

The Coleraine striker was bitterly disappointed that his first game in a Northern Ireland shirt ended in defeat but was thrilled to actually get on the pitch earn an international cap.

Patterson was a second half substitute, replacing Kyle Lafferty, and had just under half an hour on the pitch.

The 25-year-old, who will move to Glentoran in the summer, even had a great chance to score when, after Stephen Craigan hit the post, the ball rebounded to Patterson who saw his powerful shot saved by Isli Hidi.

“It was a very proud moment for me and I was pleased Nigel gave me a good run out,” said Patterson, who played up front alongside David Healy and then in the later stages of the game Andy Kirk.

“The pitch was awful but Nigel said before the game we mustn’t use that as an excuse and we’ll not. Albania adapted better to the surface than we did but I thought we came into it more in the second half.

“These are the types of games in qualifying that we need to win so the objective wasn’t achieved here.

“It was a really good test and they have decent players — hopefully we’ll do better next time.”

Patterson would dearly love a second opportunity at international football and he is desperate to be included in the squad when the Euro 2012 qualifiers start in September.

He added: “I just tried to make an impact because it is up to me to take the chance and impress.

“I want to be involved in the next squad and I’ve loved every minute of this week even if it ended in defeat. I was training and playing with boys performing in the Premiership and with Rangers and Celtic — it was a great experience for me.”

Rangers midfielder Steve Davis shared Patterson's frustration at the result.

However he conceded if Northern Ireland were to take something from their trip to Tirana then it was the emergence of the young players.

Davis said: “If there were any positives to take from that game then it was the performances of our young players.

“Andrew Little and Ryan McGivern were good and I thought Corry Evans did really well when he came on.”

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