Steven Taylor

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

An already special night was made all the more memorable for Steven Taylor with a Europa League win and a clean sheet against Club Brugge on Thursday night.

The Academy graduate captained his boyhood club for the first time at St. James' Park in a 1-0 win against the current Belgian league leaders as his hero Philippe Albert watched from the stand.

Since breaking into the first-team squad Taylor - who previously skippered the side at Peterborough in the Carling Cup three years ago - has worn the number 27 in honour of the former Newcastle defender, who was at the game in his current media capacity.

Albert had conducted a television interview with the 26-year-old just before he spoke to and Taylor admitted: "It's a proud moment for me, for him to come here and see me captain the side with his 27 shirt on.

"I'll never forget that. It's a big stage for me to get the opportunity tonight and I've got to thank the gaffer giving me that chance.

"It's a proud moment in my career."

Unlike that night at London Road, when United lost 2-0, Gabriel Obertan's 48th minute goal gave Newcastle the win while Taylor's vital late block from Ivan Trickovski's goalbound shot helped to ensure the clean sheet.

"That's what it's all about; keeping clean sheets and winning, and to have seven points in this league with the group that we're in is fantastic," the defender smiled.

"Obviously we have to go to Brugge now and get three points there. Hopefully that should see us through and it gives the younger lads an opportunity to play.

"Going there is going to be difficult. Tonight in the first half, I was seeing ourselves just getting a draw because it was difficult to get in behind their defence at certain times.

"But the only way I thought they were going to score was from our own set-pieces because they broke on us very quickly. They've got very intelligent players and good movement so we're going to have to be careful on our set-pieces to shut the door.

"I think we thoroughly deserved it tonight. Maybe in the last 20 minutes they got back into the game, we gave them a bit too much respect and they had a lot of the ball, but we defended so well tonight and I think the lads deserved their clean sheet.

"We said to stay narrow and block everything that's in front of you, and we did that. We stuck together, had good communication all around the pitch and the lads put a great shift in.

"I think the fans will go home happy tonight."

Click here to buy a Newcastle United shirt with Taylor's name and number on the back