Jason McAteer was only ever shown one red card over his entire 53-cap international career and it came in 1997, during the latter stages of the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup qualifier against Macedonia.
Trailing 3-2 and already fuming after conceding a penalty for handball earlier in the match, McAteer ensured an expedited shower when he took out his frustrations on opposing midfielder Artim Sakiri.
With the ball looping high up into the air, the Ireland right-back fixed his eyes on the target and promptly set about poleaxing Sakiri with a precision kung-fu kick to the left ventricle…
Yeah… quite bad, that one.
Despite the demoralising result, Ireland did manage to make it into the qualification play-offs for France ’98, where they lost out 3-2 on aggregate to a Luc Nilis-inspired Belgium.
Here are the full highlights from that fateful day in Skopje…
According to football folklore, for the next six years, Irish players who performed poorly in training were forced to wear a bib with “I had a Macedonia” written on it.
Obviously the original “I ♥ McAteer” option was deemed a little too tasteless, given that’s exactly where he kicked Sakiri.