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McGovern: I'm not a bad keeper but I was close to being the villain

By Paul Ferguson

Published 08/09/2015

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 7: Northern Ireland goalkeeper Michael McGovern (3rd L) lets the ball slip through his fingers as Hungary score during the Euro 2016 Group F qualifying match between Northern Ireland and Hungary at Windsor Park on September 7, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 7: Northern Ireland goalkeeper Michael McGovern (3rd L) lets the ball slip through his fingers as Hungary score during the Euro 2016 Group F qualifying match between Northern Ireland and Hungary at Windsor Park on September 7, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Northern Ireland goalkeeper Michael McGovern last night conceded his howler which gifted Hungary their opening goal at Windsor Park does not make him a bad goalkeeper.

Hamilton's No.1 fumbled a shot in the 74th minute allowing Richard Guzmics to score for Hungary and silence the Windsor Park faith.

But McGovern, who was selected ahead of experienced Roy Carroll, says he is mentally strong and was exonerated by his team-mates.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill is expected to give him the ultimate vote of confidence by sticking with him in the next qualifier against Greece.

McGovern said: "I just tried to brush it off - these things happen to goalkeepers. I'm not a bad goalkeeper because I made a mistake, I'm a goalkeeper who made a mistake.

"I think I'm mentally strong and I was just hoping the boys would get a result for us and thankfully big Kyle pulled a goal back for us.

"No one has made a big deal about it and the focus has been on the positives and the result rather than Hungary's goal.

"If we hadn't got the draw, things might have been different and I would have been the villain. But I'll dust myself down and go again for my club on Saturday and then if given another chance at international level, I will be ready for it."

McGovern watched with delight as his fellow Fermanagh man got him out of jail with a 93rd minute equaliser - although, at first, he thought it was going to be ruled off side.

Lafferty hasn't played a competitive match for his club, Norwich City, this season but that's now two goals in two consecutive games.

"It was relief all round - personally and both for the team," admitted the former Celtic keeper.

"Before the game we would have taken a draw. There have been ups and downs during the game, however I always had faith.

"When it went to the last 10 minutes I thought it was going to be difficult but as it proved, it's never over until it's over.

"Kyle's come up trumps and Niall McGinn's (pictured) done brilliantly with the shot. From where I was standing, I thought it might have been offside but thankfully it went in and we got the draw.

"Kyle has been outstanding, I think that is seven goals in eight games and another man of the match of performance. You can never bet against him.

"He must get a crate of champagne now, rather just a bottle because he has won so many awards. It keeps us moving along nicely and I'm really looking forward to the games next month."

Belfast Telegraph

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