Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

How Northern Ireland's players rated

Maik Taylor

The big keeper was as a spectator for most of the match. The Birmingham City shotstopper had nothing to do other than pick the ball out of his net twice in the second period. 6

Aaron Hughes

Mr Dependable was asked to play as a right full-back and looked as solid as ever. Comfortable on the ball and showed got distribution but you feel safer with him in the centre. 7

George McCartney

The Sunderland new boy is becoming a real threat from set-pieces. He could have scored from one early header and forced a superb save from the Slovakian keeper late on as Northern Ireland pushed for a leveller. 6

Jonny Evans

The Manchester United defender was a man-mountain for some dangerous crosses in the first-half. Picked up a silly caution through inexperience and that could come back to haunt him later in the campaign. 6

Stephen Craigan

The Motherwell defender will perhaps be disappointed Skrtel was able to head the opening goal but marshalled backline well. Will be disappointed to concede a poor second goal. 6

Chris Baird

Could be a vital player in this campaign, especially away from home and gives the back four great protection. Should have been awarded a penalty after his shot struck a stray hand. 7

Steven Davis

The Cullybackey man was as neat and tidy on the ball as ever. But if Northern Ireland are to achieve success, the Rangers man needs the ball at his feet so he can make the most of his talents. 7

Sammy Clingan

Keen to get forward early on and that almost paid dividends as he had a fiercely hit low drive saved. Was as willing to get forward as he was to provide cover in the backline. 7

David Healy

Northern Ireland’s record goalscorer will have been disappointed not to score with first-half efforts. The talisman needed more support and lone striker role does not suit him but a tireless effort. 6

Keith Gillespie

His first game of the season and that rustiness showed at times. Targeted early on for close attention but still lively and one great ball for Healy was his best moment. Booked for dissent. 6

Martin Paterson

The Burnley striker, who has started the season on fire, was played out of position on the left and took his time to get into the game. When he did, he was replaced by Chris Brunt. 6

Subs:

Warren Feeney (for Gillespie 53) 6: Could have played himself into the team. Unlucky with late strike, tipped over the bar.

Chris Brunt (for Paterson 67) 6: Super ball into box for consolation goal.

Dean Shiels (for Baird 78) 5: Little time to make any sort of impact.

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