One point from six. That’s Northern Ireland’s tally in the World Cup qualifying campaign so far. Not too healthy, is it?
Yes, the 0-0 draw at home to the Czech Republic last month was a creditable result, but the 2-1 defeat in Slovakia a few days before still infuriates me.
Every time I reflect on that game in Bratislava, I become even more convinced that it was a game we should have won - comfortably.
Slovakia were a sloppy side who were there for the taking.
But to be frank, on the night Northern Ireland just weren’t up to it.
Nigel Worthington’s 4-5-1 formation didn’t work, the passing was patchy at best and the defending from crossed balls was comical.
I sincerely hope the manager and his players have learned their lesson ahead of the next World Cup clash - in Slovenia on Saturday.
Four days after our boys play against Slovenia, they host San Marino.
Over the next week and a half with all the qualifiers going on, you will hear the phrase “there are no easy matches in international football”.
That’s ridiculous because they don’t get any easier than playing San Marino at home.
Even Ballymena United could beat them!
So, the good news is that we have three points coming to us. But it won’t count for much unless we do the business against Slovenia.
It will be a tricky match, especially as Worthington’s men will have to go into the fixture without the injured Stephen Craigan in defence and Sammy Clingan in midfield.
Those two often play understated roles but are highly influential and will be missed.
Even so, a win will still be required.
How do we get it?
Building the team around David Healy would help.
I know he has hardly played for Sunderland this season, but the man from Killyleagh wasn’t exactly a regular at Leeds or Fulham when he was scoring that record breaking number of goals in the Euro qualifiers.
He remains our best hope of scoring goals and remains the player that the rest of the squad look to for inspiration.
The 4-5-1 formation does not play to his strengths.
He needs a big man alongside him in attack to take the heat that comes with having a big reputation in international football.
Kyle Lafferty can do that and he adds goalscoring threat.
They formed a potent partnership in the last campaign and hopefully now that the Rangers striker is back from injury, he will be given the opportunity to dovetail with Healy.
Two wins out of two in the next fortnight and suddenly Northern Ireland’s World Cup hopes will be alive again.
Healy is the man most likely to deliver what we need.
Stevie G is up there with Dalglish
At the moment I’m reading “Carra” - the story of Jamie Carragher’s career.
Even for those who don’t support Liverpool, amongst football fans Carragher is renowned as an honest and no nonsense footballer.
It’s the same with his book. The scouse defender tells it how he sees it with Everton and England coming in for particular criticism. Even Rafael Benitez gets a bit of stick.
It’s interesting stuff especially his views on Steven Gerrard and his contribution to the Liverpool cause. Carragher writes that as a player at Anfield Gerrard is on a par with Kenny Dalglish.
It’s quite a statement because ask anyone who has ever sung You’ll Never Walk Alone and they will tell you that Dalglish stands alone, that he is peerless. King Kenny was a fitting nickname for Dalglish because he truly was footballing royalty.
Like the Scot, Gerrard is a world class performer and has now scored more than 100 goals for the Reds.
Unlike Dalglish, he has not won the league and has not been given the opportunity to play with class acts year in year out. Often he has been a one man team.
And that’s why Carragher has a point.
Just imagine where Liverpool would be now without Stevie G!