Northern Ireland v Faroe Islands: Hughes thrilled with unexpected goal
Aaron Hughes’ first international goal didn’t surprise anyone as much as the Northern Ireland captain himself.
After he was mobbed by his team-mates it took a few seconds for those in the stands at Windsor Park on Wednesday night to pick up on the fact that it was the skipper who had netted the early opener in the 4-0 win over the Faroe Islands.
Having been a team-mate of David Healy since the pair were in their early teens, Hughes also spent some time playing alongside Alan Shearer at Newcastle United.
And both of those record-breaking strikers would have been proud of the predatory instincts shown by Hughes as he pounced on a loose ball inside the six-yard box to break his duck in a green shirt.
“It was unexpected. I never thought I’d score,” said Hughes.
“I’m delighted, but I’m more delighted with the overall result.”
Hughes will be 32 in November and will be closing in on his 35th birthday by the time the World Cup in Brazil comes around.
That means next summer’s European Championship finals is likely to be his last shot at leading Northern Ireland to a major tournament and it’s not an opportunity Hughes is going to let go of without a fight.
Northern Ireland are two points behind second placed Slovenia in Group C, with a game in hand and there’s everything to play for with Serbia arriving in Belfast next month.
“It was important that we got the win because it sets us up in the group now,” said Hughes.
“It was a potential banana skin against the Faroes and while the crowd were nervous we weren’t.
“The three points puts us in a really good position with four games to go and they are all massive now.
“The good thing is that it’s in our hands. We’re were we wanted to be.”