Scottish League Cup Final 2023

Scottish League Cup Final 2023

New Zealand international James McGarry, a member of the All Whites, fell short in his bid for a second major football final winner's medal in 2023 at Scotland's Hampden Park on Sunday (Monday NZ time). 

The 25-year-old entered the fray in the 66th minute as a substitute for Aberdeen in the Viaplay League Cup final against Rangers, a highly anticipated clash witnessed by nearly 50,000 fans.

Just ten minutes after McGarry's entrance, Rangers' captain, James Tavernier, scored the decisive goal of the match. Unfortunately, McGarry and another Aberdeen defender were unable to thwart Tavernier, who successfully netted the match-winner.

McGarry, whose father Michael was a prominent figure in the All Whites' history, secured a three-year deal with Aberdeen following an outstanding performance in the Central Coast Mariners' A-League title campaign. This included a notable 6-1 victory over Melbourne City in the grand final in June.

The week had initially promised significant achievements for McGarry after he started and played impressively in Aberdeen's 2-0 UEFA Conference League upset against German Bundesliga club Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday (Friday NZ time). This marked McGarry's return to the field after a prolonged absence due to a hamstring injury.

His parents, who flew from Dunedin, witnessed both crucial games and also had the opportunity to meet their new grandson, Storm. Reflecting on his performances, McGarry expressed pride in showcasing his skills for his parents, stating, "I am so proud to be able to have put on a show for them."

McGarry, drawing on his experience of playing in the A-League final before a crowd of 26,527, hoped that familiarity with such high-pressure situations would serve him well at Hampden Park. He emphasized, "I have been in a massive final in front of lots of fans, so I know what that is like. That can bring confidence, knowing I have been there and done that."

Despite starting the final on the bench, McGarry eagerly awaited his opportunity and eventually replaced the starter, Johnny Hayes, in the left wingback role during the final quarter of the match.

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