Belfast Telegraph

Grigg's joy and relief as he proves he can be on fire for NI too

By Steven Beacom

Northern Ireland striker Will Grigg has spoken of his delight at scoring his first goal at international level during the 3-0 friendly victory over Belarus.

The Wigan Athletic striker admitted there was a touch of relief too.

Grigg came off the bench to huge roars in the second half and would have taken the roof off Windsor Park, if there was one, with the noise from the crowd when he netted late on to seal a triumphant evening.

It has been some season for Grigg and the hits just keep on coming.

For Wigan he was the catalyst, scoring 25 times in the league as they won promotion to the Championship. Those goals led to a Wigan fan making up the 'Will Grigg's on fire' song which has become one of the most popular tunes on planet football.

It's gone viral online and then some and Northern Ireland followers don't want to be left out.

For the first time at Windsor Park last night, it was sung loud and proud and that was before he even came on to the pitch.

Once he did, replacing Kyle Lafferty, the stadium went crazy.

With that entrance he had to score and he duly did, striking home with his right foot on 88 minutes for his first international goal.

All this and today he will be named in Michael O'Neill's 23-man squad when it is officially revealed at Titanic Belfast.

The 24-year-old said: "It was something special. I got a good contact and was delighted to see it hit the back of the net. I think I had to score after the welcome from the fans.

"If you don't score when the supporters are constantly singing the song doesn't seem right.

"I was on the bench waiting to come on and I think everyone wanted me to score. It was great to have the fans' backing.

"I think I heard the song first being sung in the fourth minute. I know I have to keep scoring now to keep the song going, so that's a nice motivation to have!"

Speaking on what has turned out to be an incredible year for him, he said: "From Christmas on, I've been pretty prolific and I think I've come a long way as a player and person. This was a nice way to top it off.

"It's great to score, but my main aim is to be in the squad for France. It would mean everything to me and hopefully I can get a few more goals over there."

One thing is certain the fans will continue to chant "Will Grigg's On Fire'.

It could be the soundtrack to what promises to be an unforgettable summer for Northern Ireland supporters.

Belfast Telegraph