MATT CROOKS made an instant impact as he scored on his first appearance in a Middlesbrough shirt to help secure a 2-1 friendly win at Plymouth Argyle.

Crooks became Boro’s fifth summer signing yesterday when he joined from Rotherham United for a fee which is understood to be around £1.1m.

The 27-year-old has signed a three-year deal with the Teessiders, and was thrown straight into the fray for last night’s game at Home Park, which marked the end of Boro’s three-match tour of the South-West.

“I'm delighted to have got him,” said Boro boss Neil Warnock. “I've always liked Matthew, for many years.

"He can play in different positions, and he's a whole-hearted player that I think the fans will take to. I'm sure he'll have a good few years at Middlesbrough.”

Crooks made almost 100 appearances for Rotherham after joining in 2019, and helped the Millers win promotion from League One.

He scored seven goals in 42 appearances last season, and was named Championship Player of the Month in January.

He has also scored his first goal in Boro colours as he opened the scoring in the first half of last night’s game. Uche Ikpeazu and Sam Morsy linked to set up Crooks, who struck a low finish into the corner.

Warnock named trialist Jamie Paterson in his starting side, and with Boro continuing to dominate, Paddy McNair and Marcus Tavernier both went close before the interval.

However, the Teessiders were pegged back at the start of the second half as Plymouth equalised. Conor Grant swung over a corner, and Macauley Gillesphey pulled free of his marker to head home.

Isaiah Jones, Jeremy Sivi and Chuba Akpom came on as Warnock rang the changes, and Boro went close when Akpom teed up Tavernier for a shot that flew over the crossbar.

Tavernier was an attacking threat all evening, so it was no surprise when he was at the heart of the Teessiders’ winner.

The midfielder played a slick one-two with Sivi before drilling a left-footed finish into the bottom corner.

That was that in terms of the goalscoring, although Warnock continued to utilise his squad late on.