Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

David Healy: Now we must go for the joy of six

It was fantastic to be at back at Windsor Park in midweek and even better to get another victory under our belts.

We're starting to get used to that winning feeling and we like it.

As I said after the 3-1 win over Liechtenstein on Wednesday, six points is now our aim from the matches in Latvia and Iceland next month.

It had been a long time since we had last played an international and in many respects we were on a hiding to nothing because everyone expected us to beat Liechtenstein easily.

Thankfully we avoided the banana skin and came safely through.

In the end it was a very good result for us, although to be honest it wasn't the best performance in the world. Still, the big thing was to win.

As the new boss Nigel Worthington said to us all after the match there is room for improvement and that can come in Latvia and Iceland.

It was crucial to get an early goal against Liechtenstein and fortunately I was in the right place to get it.

I have to thank my old pal Keith Gillespie for the assist.

I was joking with him that it was about time he set me up for a goal and typical of "Bestie" he delivered.

I actually have a lot to thank " Bestie" for over my Northern Ireland career.

I reckon that he must have created more than half my international goals for me.

And the good news for me and Northern Ireland is that he is getting better with age.

He may be the old man of the team these days, but you wouldn't know it the way he flies up and down the wing.

He's a bit of character is Keith and well liked by the boys off the pitch and highly respected on it.

He's been an outstanding stalwart for Northern Ireland over the years and I know how much it means to his family.

He has won over 75 caps now and as far as I am concerned he is an all-time great for Northern Ireland. And he's not a bad poker player either!

All of us would love to qualify for the Euro 2008 finals, but for what Keith has done for his country and the service he has given over the years, it would be great to see him strut his stuff in the finals of a major championships.

While Keith was raiding down the right on Wednesday, George McCartney enjoyed himself down the left flank.

I was pleased to see George back in a green shirt.

There has been a lot said about George not playing for Lawrie, but that's over now and he has returned - and did so with an excellent performance.

He has certainly given Nigel a selection headache for the next games when hopefully Aaron Hughes and Jonny Evans will be back in the squad.

I had to have a toe injection before the match and on another night may have been taken off but I know Nigel wanted to see if I could get a hat-trick.

Ultimately though we were all happy to win especially our backroom boys Dr Trevor Dixon, Terry Hayes and Derek McKinley. The win bonuses keep on coming for you boys. Ker-ching! Ker-ching!



Republic Dane well to hit four

It's a pity Robbie Keane scored twice for the Republic of Ireland against Denmark on Wednesday night.

If he had just kept it to one, I'd be ahead of him now in international goals.

Still, being level with him on 31 feels pretty good.

I've always liked Robbie as a player - he's an intelligent footballer and for the last few years has been Ireland's main man since another guy called Keane decided to quit the international scene.

As we have found out in our Euro 2008 campaign Denmark is a tough place to go to get a result, so for the Republic to win 4-0 over there is some going.

I know there was a lot of doom and gloom about the Republic's chances of qualifying for the Euro finals when they suffered a few defeats early on, but I always thought they had a chance.

They have Slovakia and the Czech Republic away next month and if they can pick up a win and a draw in those games they might just do it. With Robbie Keane in form, don't rule them out.

While one Tottenham man had a great night on Wednesday, it wasn't so good for another one.

Paul Robinson will know better than anyone that he was at fault for one of Germany's goals in England's 2-1 defeat.

Unfortunately for Paul if you make a mistake as a goalkeeper it usually ends in a goal for the opposition and that's what happened to him at Wembley.

Even before that mistake, some of the boys in the English press were calling for David James to return.

Robbo needs to regain confidence pretty quickly. The problem is his next game is at Old Trafford against Manchester United!

Football needs to finally cross the line

There has been much said about my goal that never was over the last seven days.

Reflecting on it, I think I am even more disappointed now than I was at the time.

Not only did the mistake from the referee and his assistant cost me a goal, it cost Fulham what could prove to be a vital point.

Everyone bar the officials, who I admit have a very difficult job, realised the ball was over the line.

Even the Middlesbrough players knew it should have been given.

For me it is good to have two goals in three Premier League games, but three in three sounds even better.

Obviously as there normally is when something like this happens, the call has gone up to introduce video evidence into football.

Me? I'm all for it.

Some have suggested that it would slow the game down.

I don't think so.

With the technology available these days a decision can be made within 30 seconds about whether a ball is over the line.

That's not taking away from the game.

That's helping it.

Rugby League and rugby union uses video technology and so does cricket.

It's beyond me that the biggest sport in the world does not.

There is so much money at stake now, I would have thought it was essential to get big decisions right.

I just hope UEFA or FIFA take notice of what happened at Craven Cottage last weekend and take some action.

Tomorrow we are playing at Aston Villa which means a return to Villa Park for Steve Davis.

I know he is looking forward to it. Aaron Hughes would too, but it's doubtful whether he'll be back from injury.

Villa Park is a ground that holds happy memories for me because I made my Manchester United debut there in the League Cup.

It's a big season for Martin O'Neill at Villa.

I guess like most Northern Ireland people, I am a big admirer of Martin and I'm sure he will have them well fired up.

At Fulham, we feel we deserve to have more than three points out of nine so far, so maybe it will be our turn to get a few breaks tomorrow.

And if I get the ball over the line, I just hope that it will be given this time.

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