NATHAN PATTERSON looks back on his Rangers debut as a “surreal” experience after he made the transition from supporter in the stand to first-team player on the Ibrox pitch.
The 18 year-old won praise from boss Steven Gerrard following his first start for the top team against Stranraer on Friday night – and Patterson spoke about his range of emotions in the build-up to kick-off.
He explained: “It was in the training session the day before when I found out I was going to be in the starting team, so I was obviously buzzing with that.
“Through that day, and then the day before the game, I had butterflies thinking about it but it was a great experience.
“I obviously told my parents first that I was going to be making my debut, and they were delighted for me.
“There were nerves before the game, but in the dressing room I just started to get more buzzing before walking out that tunnel in front of 40,000 people – it was a surreal experience.”
Patterson’s debut came hot off the heels of a week’s training with the first-team in the Dubai sunshine – and he learned so much from that experience as well as having captain and fellow right-back James Tavernier to look up to.
“It was great being around them every day and seeing what they do on a daily basis,” he continued. “It helps you as a player, and even though it was only a week, it helps you develop as much as you can.
“It’s great having [Tavernier]. He always speaks to you when you and he always encourages you when you do something well.
“I always look up to his game to see what I can pick-up on.”
Patterson recalled his Academy experiences against the best European talent in both the club’s Games Programme and the UEFA Youth League – and reckons they have helped to propel him towards the first-team.
He added: “That’s been great, and especially playing in front of crowds which gives you that wee confidence boost as well.
“Playing against top teams and getting good results helps you to believe in yourself.”
Patterson was speaking as he, Kai Kennedy and Craig Mulholland received a cheque for £450,000 from the Rangers Youth Development Company.
Read more about that HERE.