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McGovern to net a call from Worthy

Ross County goalkeeper Michael McGovern could be on the verge of winning his first Northern Ireland cap.

It is a timely boost for the 25-year-old ahead of the Scottish Cup final against Dundee United a week tomorrow at Hampden Park.

Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington has confirmed he plans to include McGovern in his squad for a forthcoming two-match tour.

Worthington's side are playing Turkey in New Britain, Connecticut on May 26 before travelling to Chile, where they will face the World Cup finalists four days later.

McGovern arrived in Dingwall in the summer after wearing the colours of Celtic and Dundee United, but he made only one first-team appearance for the Tangarines and the closest he got to a competitive game for Celtic was when on the bench for a European game against Barcelona at the Nou Camp.

McGovern made 10 appearances for the Northern Ireland Under-21 side then moved up to the senior panel where he was involved in a number of squads before losing his place to current number two goalkeeper Johnny Tuffey — and Worthington has been pleased with his progress.

Neither Tuffey or first-choice Maik Taylor will make the trip, leaving McGovern with a great chance of making his international bow.

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Worthington said: “Michael has had a terrific season and his club have done so well to reach the final.

“Because of his hard work Michael will travel with us for a couple of games. That will give me a chance to take a close look at him and see where we are at.

“I am absolutely delighted for him. He moved down the leagues to get first team football and playing week in, week out gives you a sense of achievement.

“Sometimes you have to take a step back to take two steps forward and that seems to be the case with Michael.”

McGovern will be joined on the plane to the USA by no less than FIVE local stars from the Carling Premiership, with many of the established international squad unavailable due to pre-arranged holidays — while some may be in Play-off final action.

Coleraine’s Rory Patterson will retain his place after making his debut in the last game, away to Albania back in March.

Crusaders captain Colin Coates, who made his debut against Italy last summer and stayed in the squad for the World Cup qualifiers, will return after losing his spot for the Albania game.

There will be three new faces from the local scene though, with Linfield’s Jamie Mulgrew rewarded for an impressive season with a first call-up, while Portadown’s Kevin Braniff will follow up his 10 Under-21 appearances with a debut at full level. And joining them will be Cliftonville’s George McMullan after 18 goals this season.


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