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O'Neill looking to gain momentum

Michael O'Neill rates Sunday's victory in Hungary as his best result in charge of Northern Ireland but insists it will only matter if they follow up by beating the Faroe Islands next month.

O'Neill has previously overseen a home win against Fabio Capello's Russia and a 1-1 draw with Portugal in Porto, but the 2-1 success in Budapest immediately overtook both as his favourite result since taking over from Nigel Worthington.

That is down to timing more than anything, with close-range finishes from Niall McGinn and Kyle Lafferty giving Northern Ireland the best possible start to Euro 2016 qualifying.

But despite the good feeling created by a first away win in over four years, O'Neill is already looking to the next test - a visit from Group F's relative minnows.

"This results feels bigger than Russia or Portugal because it means we've started the campaign on the front foot with three points away from home," he said.

"I felt we missed the opportunity to get some momentum going early in the last campaign but we haven't missed it this time and that means we need to push on from here.

"The truth is these three points are only as valuable as what we make of them.

"We have a home game against the Faroes now which sets us up to be in a good position after a couple of games, but we have to make sure we do that."

Lafferty, who did more than anyone to drag his side over the line, echoed those sentiments.

The 26-year-old Norwich striker made the piercing run and cross that teed up McGinn for the equaliser 10 minutes from time and then showed admirable endeavour to hook the winner over the line in a scramble.

But looking ahead to the next test, he said: "When we dig deep, we'll pick up points and we've done that this time.

"But we can't get ahead of ourselves. These are the kind of games, when we're underdogs, that we go out and pick up points, but it's the next game against the Faroe Islands - when we should beat them - those are the games where we've struggled."

Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis was also celebrating, having led his side to the first away victory of his tenure.

The Southampton midfielder has long been a shining light in otherwise unimpressive performances, but this time the 29-year-old was able to reflect on a positive display.

"We're not going to get carried away but we caused them problems and I think we deserved the win," he said.

"Everybody gave their all and that's what it's going to take if we're going to do anything out of this group.

"Of course we know we're not going to come away from home and dominate possession against quality sides but we're going to try and build on this and get a bit of consistency.

"Hungary are a good side and are ranked above us, but I thought we were really disciplined in our play and had to be patient at times.

"Whenever we got a chance to play we put some nice patterns together.

"But we also had that kind of ruthlessness in the final third which you need in games like this."

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