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McAuley calls on NI to show ruthless edge

By Paul Ferguson

Determined Gareth McAuley has urged his Northern Ireland team-mates to be ruthless against little San Marino in their next World Cup qualifier at the new-look Windsor Park.

Northern Ireland kicked off their 2018 World Cup campaign with an important 0-0 draw against the Czech Republic in Prague on Sunday - despite a below-par performance.

Now, Michael O'Neill's men face a nervous contest against minnows San Marino - who have never won an international in 26 years - early next month.

Veteran McAuley has suffered enough humiliating results over the years, and insists that if Northern Ireland are to stand a chance of qualifying, they must comprehensively beat the smallest nation in the competition.

McAuley said: "It is important to pick up points at home, starting against San Marino.

"In the last campaign we found a way of beating the teams we were expected to beat. Hopefully we can be positive and be on the front foot and it will be nice to get back to Windsor as with that crowd behind us, hopefully we can turn that into another three points which would make it a really positive start.

"We want to be in a good position before we go to Germany."

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