Belfast Telegraph

Clingan slams cocky Swedes

By Mark McIntosh

Sammy Clingan today declared the ultra-confident Swedes got what was coming to them in Stockholm last night.

Clingan's room-mate, Kyle Lafferty, was the sharp-shooting hero as Nigel Worthington's men kept their Euro 2008 dreams alive with a point in the Swedish capital.

The build-up to the match had been dominated by the biggest newspaper in Sweden depicting David Healy as a sheep in reference to Northern Ireland heading into the game like lambs to the slaughter.

The Belfast Telegraph duly retaliated by dressing Sweden captain Freddie Ljungberg up as a donkey as the fun escalated.

But Nottingham Forest midfielder, Clingan, was less than impressed by the mocking of Healy and he believes it only helped Northern Ireland to spoil the Swedes' qualification party.

"Seeing David Healy in the paper as a sheep wasn't nice when you consider the goals he's scored in this tournament," said Clingan.

"But we used that to our advantage and the lads were well aware of the picture in the paper.

"The good thing is, that sort of thing always has a way of coming back to bite you and that's exactly what happened to Sweden.

"That was the real Northern Ireland out there.

"We know we let ourselves down in the last two games but we've kept the dream alive with a very good performance."

Despite the fantastic point in the backyard of the leaders, Northern Ireland have slipped to fourth in Group F.

But with Sweden needing a result against Spain to qualify, Northern Ireland could go to Spain in the final match next month needing a win to make it to their first major tournament in over 20 years.

First up though, is a home clash with Denmark next month.

"It is so good to be playing for Northern Ireland at the minute; it's unreal," added Clingan.

"Our fans are incredible and they got us going in Sweden.

"That's four points we've taken off Sweden which shows what we're capable of and that means we'll approach the Denmark game with a lot of confidence.

"We have a month away from internationals but we can't wait.

"If we can beat Denmark, the Spain game will be something else. Having to go to Spain needing a win to qualify would be a tall order but that's when we tend to produce."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph