Frustrated Martin Paterson last night admitted his personal achievement must always come second to the team.
The in-form Burnley hotshot is still waiting for is first Northern Ireland goal after a difficult night in Serravalle.
Northern Ireland won the match 3-0 and in truth the victory was at a canter against the Group Three whipping boys.
But Paterson and Northern Ireland’s record goalscorer David Healy experienced little joy up front on a freezing night in the Principality.
Healy at the final whistle, out of sheer annoyance with how the match had gone for him personally, threw his boots into the crowd.
Paterson however is not about to give away a pair of boots that have seen him score 17 goals for the Clarets this season in all competitions.
“I haven’t scored as many goals as David so I’m definitely keeping mine,” said Paterson (pictured right) last night.
“I was trying so hard to get that first international goal that I crave but it wasn’t easy.
“It was really difficult out there because even though they may not be the greatest team in the world, they sat back with a five man defence and crowded you giving you very little space.
“Of course it’s my job to make room for myself however it wasn’t an easy night to play football.
“But this isn’t about me. The most important thing was the fact we won the match 3-0 and are now second in the group and we are still in the hunt for qualification.
“Victory was vital and that’s what we achieved. And I’m delighted for the boys who have scored – it’s a team game and I was so happy for them.
“I’ll just have to hope I have better luck in the next game at Windsor Park.”
That next match is against Poland and with big Kyle Lafferty, who started out on the left suspended, Paterson providing he stays fit and healthy is once again likely to start alongside David Healy.
Paterson was replaced by Warren Feeney with 15 minutes to go and the Dundee United man will his main competition come the end of March.
Paterson adds: “It wasn’t my best game but I’m hoping Nigel Worthington will keep faith with me.
“I thoroughly enjoy the whole Northern Ireland set-up and desperately want to be involved for the Poland match.”