After a goalscoring introduction from Belfast-born Caolan Boyd-Munce on Saturday, here’s a look at seven Boro players past and present to have represented Northern Ireland…

A falling out with hometown club Derry City nearly brought a premature end to the career inside forward Johnny Crossan. Aggrieved to have missed out on a tidy transfer fee when the player moved to rivals Coleraine rather than across the water in 1958, Derry reported Crossan for receiving wages as an amateur (even though it was they who had been paying him!) and he was subsequently banned.

The ban was partially lifted on appeal, and allowed Crossan to play on the continent with Sparta Rotterdam and Standard Liege. That was followed by spells with Sunderland, where he played alongside Brian Clough, and later Manchester City who he captained to the Division Two title. A car crash near Roker Park in 1967 almost ended Crossan’s career again, but he recovered sufficiently to sign for Boro, playing 56 times for the club and scoring 7 goals.

An attacking midfielder from Belfast, Eric McMordie first arrived on these shores in 1961 with George Best for a two-week trial with Manchester United. The teenagers soon returned to Northern Ireland after a bout of homesickness, but while Best was persuaded to return to Manchester, it was three more years before McMordie was back in England to join Boro.

Over the next decade, McMordie became a staple in a Boro team which flirted with promotion to the top division on a number of occasions, making nearly 250 league appearances and scoring 22 goals. By the time Boro did go up, in 1974, McMordie was a bit-part player, with manager Jack Charlton preferring the likes of David Armstrong and Graeme Souness. Capped 21 times by his country, McMordie later played for York City and Hartlepool United.

Eric McMordie

One of the finest goalkeepers in Boro’s history, Jim Platt (pictured top) joined Boro from Ballymena after being recommended by their manager and ex-Boro star Alex McCrae. Steeping up as our number one from 1971, Platt would go on to make almost 500 appearances during his time on Teesside - placing him in the top five players in Boro’s history - and was a mainstay in our promotion-winning season under Jack Charlton in 1973/74.

If not for the presence of Pat Jennings, he would no doubt have made more than his 24 Northern Ireland caps, nevertheless Platt was part of the Green and White team who won the last Home Championship in 1984.

It took a club record fee of £233,333 for Boro to prise Terry Cochrane from Burnley in 1978, also a record fee for a Northern Irish player at the time. Over the next five years, the Killyleagh-born winger clocked up over a century of Boro games.

One of his most memorable moments in a Boro shirts was scoring a beauty of an overhead kick in an FA Cup tie at Swansea City which Boro won 5-0, and the goal would later be used in the opening montage for Match of the Day. Cochrane, who was capped 26 times, played for a host of other clubs in the area in the latter days of his career, including Hartlepool United, Marske United, both Billingham clubs and South Bank.

Redcar born but eligible to represent Northern Ireland through his father, Jordan Jones progressed through Boro’s Academy but made only a single appearance, an FA Cup tie against Hastings United in 2013. The winger went north of the border to kick-start his career with Kilmarnock, later moving to Glasgow giants Rangers.

He has since returned to the north east on loan with Sunderland, and now plays for Wigan Athletic. Jones has been capped a dozen times by Northern Ireland, with one goal to his name.

A deadline day arrival in August 2018, George Saville joined from Millwall on an initial loan arrangement that became permanent. The midfielder scored on his first start, against Bolton Wanderers, and would feature regularly for three successive Boro managers - Tony Pulis, Jonathan Woodgate and Neil Warnock.

Saville, who hails from Surrey, qualifies for the Northern Irish through his grandmother and has been capped 31 times. He returned to Millwall in a permanent transfer in the summer of 2021.

George Saville and Paddy McNair in action for Northern Ireland

A name that needs no introduction, Paddy McNair overcame a sticky start to life on Teesside to become one of the most accomplished and versatile players in Boro’s arsenal.

Equally adept in central defence, wing back or in midfield, the Ballyclare-born 26-year-old has already been capped more than 50 times by the Green and White Army, and is rapidly rising through the table of the players who have been made the most international appearances while playing for Boro (currently topped by Mark Schwarzer with 51).