Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough says he doesn't care one little bit that his team will face Slovakia in next month's Euro 2020 play-off final at Windsor Park rather than the Republic of Ireland, declaring that all that matters to him is that his players are there.
While Northern Ireland were winning their first ever penalty shoot-out in Bosnia last night, the Republic were losing the same way in Slovakia taking away the possibility of an intriguing all-Ireland clash in Belfast on November 12 with a place at next year's finals at stake.
Stephen Kenny's side drew 0-0 against Slovakia before losing 4-2 on penalties with Northern Ireland triumphing 4-3 from the spot following a 1-1 draw with Niall McGinn's second half equaliser sending the tie into extra-time.
Stuart Dallas and substitutes Kyle Lafferty, Conor Washington and Liam Boyce were on target for the visitors from 12 yards with the final two having been sent on in the last seconds of extra-time while goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell made a vital save, continuing the fine form he had shown during the game.
It was a wonderful night for all the players, none more so than captain Steven Davis who played 120 minutes as he earned his 120th cap to go past Pat Jennings and move top of the all-time appearance list for his country.
For Baraclough, in only his third game in charge, it was a glorious evening. He will prepare for Nations League games at home to Austria on Sunday and away to Norway on Wednesday, but already the fans are relishing the November 12 play-off final showdown versus Slovakia believing like when they made it to Euro 2016 the team can reach another major tournament.
"I know many of the Northern Irish public might have wanted (to face the Republic) but we didn't have any preference really," stated Baraclough for whom this morning started less brightly as the squad encountered a delay of several hours at Sarajevo airport, due to fog, before boarding their flight back to Belfast to prepare for Sunday’s Nations League game with Austria.
"It was all about Bosnia and getting through this tie,” Baraclough added.
“If you start looking too far ahead and wondering about who you want in the final it takes the focus off this game.
"There was no way we were going to allow the players or ourselves to do that. It's Slovakia. Now we have to prepare properly for them whether it's 90 minutes, 120 minutes or penalties to get us to the Euros and that's all that matters."
On the Slovakia clash, skipper Davis added: "It's another one-off game. We're going to be at home, it's going to be a tough game but there's a great carrot there for us at the end of it. We'll be doing all we can to get to the finals.
"I was delighted with the character and desire of everybody. We'd said leave everything out there and don't have any regrets and we've done that, and we're delighted to get the win. Now we can look forward to the game in November."
On the prospect of qualification, Peacock-Farrell, who has cemented his place in the side thanks to some excellent performances in recent internationals, said: "It would mean a great deal. I'm one of the new players since the Euros so I haven't had that taste yet and I'm dying for it.
"We're halfway there now. We've got a game on Sunday (against Austria) and then Norway in the week but the next international break is the major one."
Meanwhile Northern Ireland will have 600 fans inside Windsor for Sunday's Nations League game against Austria, and will hope that limited number can be increased for the visit of Slovakia on November 12.
Northern Ireland are just 90 minutes away from a place at their second consecutive European Championship finals after winning a dramatic penalty shoot-out in Sarajevo.
Northern Ireland supporters hoping last night's Euro 2020 play-off victory in Bosnia was a good omen for an aptly-named horse racing at Downpatrick were left downhearted after it came in fourth.