It was a sorry display — and now the 10,600 Northern Ireland fans left gutted by their team’s woeful performance against Luxembourg on Tuesday night have been given an apology from the players.
Goalkeeper Roy Carroll spoke for the squad when he said the fans deserved a lot more for their money than what was served up during the 1-1 draw against a team widely regarded as one of European football’s whipping boys.
Members of the Green and White Army certainly felt short-changed by the failure of Michael O’Neill’s men to beat the lowest seeded team in Group F of the World Cup qualifiers, especially after scoring so early through Dean Shiels.
But countless chances were squandered as the players lost their discipline, tossing away two vital points in the process.
And even Carroll (below) admitted that Northern Ireland’s shocking second half display was painful to watch as little Luxembourg came more and more into the game before they struck with a late own-goal equaliser to leave O’Neill still looking for his first win after five games as international boss.
“The boys were all bitterly disappointed and so was I,” said Carroll, who was denied a first international clean sheet in eight years when Daniel Da Mota's shot took a wicked deflection off Ryan McGivern.
“It was very hard watching that game in the second half — and I was playing in it.
“I feel very sorry for the supporters who came and paid their money to watch it.”
After taking just one point from a possible six, O’Neill will now try to pick up the pieces before next month’s trip to group favourites Portugal, who will include Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo.
“Everybody is down about what happened, but now we have to pick ourselves up for Portugal,” added Carroll.