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Michael in mood for Windsor party after more away day joy

By Robert Jones

Published 05/09/2015

Pacemaker Belfast ?04/09/2015
Faroe Islands v Northern Ireland: Euro 2016 Qualifier Torsvollur, Torshavn.
Chris Baird and Oliver Norwoodcelebrates the 3-1 victory at the final whistle during this evenings game in the Faroe Islands.
Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast ?04/09/2015 Faroe Islands v Northern Ireland: Euro 2016 Qualifier Torsvollur, Torshavn. Chris Baird and Oliver Norwoodcelebrates the 3-1 victory at the final whistle during this evenings game in the Faroe Islands. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Michael O'Neill rightly looked like the cat that got the cream after his boys did the business in the Faroe Islands.

Northern Ireland are now on the brink of qualifying for the Euro 2016 finals after this 3-1 triumph in Torshavn.

The former Shanmrock Rovers chief hailed a professional display from his men and admitted they were now on the brink of something very special.

"It was a great night really," said O'Neill.

"Many aspects of the performance pleased me.

"We started the game excellently, got ahead, and I thought 1-1 was a little bit harsh on us.

"It was a mistake for the goal (from Stuart Dallas) but I thought the reaction was very good.

"We came again and maybe Kyle (Lafferty) should have put us ahead.

"In the second half we were patient and we managed the game well. We maybe didn't create chances in the early part of the second half but I always felt it was coming. The sending off (of Joan Simun Edmundsson) gave us that added incentive and numerical advantage.

"We went to 4-4-2 and it paid off for us. We were able to manage the game - take Kyle off, which I think was important given he's on two bookings and his fitness situation and the same with Chris Brunt in that scenario.

"All in all it was the perfect evening for us in terms of getting through the game, getting minutes for the players who maybe needed them and most importantly getting three points."

A glittering prize now awaits O'Neill and his men at Windsor Park on Monday night if they can beat Hungary and make it the Euro finals for the first time.

Gareth McAuley hit a brace while Kyle Lafferty scored for the sixth time in this campaign. Edmundsson's leveller offered merely false hope.

O'Neill added: "We can certainly start to focus.

"The players' application this week has been phenomenal. They know the prize that's at stake.

"Straight away we emphasised the preparation, the recovery, it starts now.

"The players are in there getting themselves ready to go for Monday night. When we come back tomorrow the lads who didn't play will train and hopefully we'll be as strong as we can be.

"We know the significance of three points. It's a fantastic prize for the players, well deserved.

"They've won three of the four games away from home which is phenomenal in any campaign. I genuinely can't see them letting this opportunity go. It's now a great scenario to be playing for qualification in our home stadium.

"The pleasing aspect of it is we do have a little bit of a safety net there as well. This is the game that was going to be the nervous game.

"The next game, I think they'll handle it. I just thought we were excellent to a man."

Faroe Islands manager Lars Christian Olsen said: "I think our team was very nervous in the beginning.

"We lose a lot of balls. Northern Ireland deserved to be one up after 15 minutes.

"After that, we were coming more into the game. We deserved also the equaliser and I was very pleased after the first 45 minutes.

"The red card changed the game. That's the way I see it. I'm a little bit disappointed because I think we played very well if you see it compared to the game we played in Belfast."

Belfast Telegraph

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