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Ian Baraclough has passed his first test as Northern Ireland boss but the biggest ones are still to come

Steven Beacom


 

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Tough act: New Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough, pictured on his first day at Windsor Park yesterday, will be following in some big footsteps

Tough act: New Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough, pictured on his first day at Windsor Park yesterday, will be following in some big footsteps

Michael O'Neill

Michael O'Neill

Tough act: New Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough, pictured on his first day at Windsor Park yesterday, will be following in some big footsteps

Zoom meetings. We've all had to get used to them lately. Even so, it didn't seem right that Ian Baraclough had to speak to reporters remotely in his first press conference as Northern Ireland manager.

No bother to Bara though. The personal touch, that has been a key part of his success as Under-21 boss, may have been missing, but that didn't stop him delivering an impressive performance in front of hard to please hacks.

Suited and booted for the occasion and wearing an Irish FA tie, he sat in the Windsor Park media room yesterday answering questions coming at him from laptops across the country with a confidence that suggests he is ready for and is relishing the biggest job of his life.