Rangers youngster Glenn Middleton admits he was left shocked when Steven Gerrard turned to him to unlock stubborn Shkupi.
The Gers teenager was handed his first-team debut in Thursday night’s opening Europa League qualifer.
With Gerrard’s men struggling to shake off their Macedonian guests at Ibrox, the former Liverpool skipper threw Middleton into the fray with 11 minutes left.
And his injection of pace helped the Light Blues maintain their pressure into the final stages as they eventually earned a stoppage time penalty that put daylight between the sides.
James Tavernier tucked home the crucial spot-kick to add to Jamie Murphy’s first-half strike and Rangers now head to Skopje for Tuesday’s return with a 2-0 lead.
Middleton admitted he did not expect to play a part in Gerrard’s managerial bow but now hopes to impress his boss enough to ensure that run out is not a one-off.
“Yes, it did,” said the teenager when asked if his involvement had come as a surprise. “Not many people are sure what to expect when a new manager comes into a club, no matter who it is. It’s just a case of trying to take your opportunity when it is given to you.
“I’ve only played 15 minutes of first-team football so far, so it’s not much but I just need to keep building from here, show him what I can do in training every day and if I get the opportunity in games take it from there and show what I’m capable of.
“It was brilliant to play a part. It was a really good result for the team, although obviously it wasn’t the perfect performance. However, it’s a win and we take that into the next leg and we’ll go from there.
“Am I confident I can break into the side? Yes, I think anyone would be lying if they said they weren’t. It’s the same for all the young boys, we come in every day, show him what we can do and hopefully get our names on the team-sheet as soon as possible.
“I don’t really fear much, so if we are losing or even if I’ve not being playing my best I’ll still go at my man every single time because I’m confident in myself that I can always make that one chance for the team to hopefully get a goal.
“It’s about taking it day by day, that’s the manager’s message to everyone and me personally – just do what I can every day to show what I’m capable of.”