Gerry Armstrong: It speaks volumes that we're disappointed to settle only for a draw
Well, it’s as we all expected, if we are to reach Euro 2020 we must negotiate the play-offs.
Even though we didn’t manage to win last night’s game against the Netherlands, on what was possibly Michael O’Neill’s last fixture at Windsor Park, his boys can certainly hold their heads high.
It means we travel to Germany for the final fixture in the group with nothing but pride at this stage.
But, by the time those play-offs come around, don’t rule out a champagne-popping leaving party for Michael — this team still has a great chance to qualify.
It’s not that often you are disappointed having held the Dutch to a draw.
To be honest, we should have won the game. We had two or three really good chances early on — and there was the penalty miss.
Credit to Michael, he sent on attacking players in the last 20 minutes in a bid to win the game.
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In fact, the Dutch had to resort to taking off attacking players to replace them with defenders. So it shows the quality, determination and passion we have in the team.
What a send-off it was for Michael — the fans did him proud. I’m so pleased he got a result but that delight is also tinged with disappointment because we really could have beaten the Dutch.
I really felt for Steven Davis, winning his 116th cap, making him the UK’s most capped midfielder, when he missed the spot kick.
I would have bet anything and everything I had for him to score that.
I couldn’t believe it when he blasted it over the crossbar.
There was a lot of kidology going on before he hit it.
The goalkeeper was out making a fuss, there was an awful lot of time wasted before the penalty was taken.
I think Steven got caught up in all of that — he lost his concentration. It could happen to anyone. He is a top professional, he’s a great captain and he gave us another performance to remember.
We’ve a game to play against Germany that doesn’t mean a lot because they have already qualified along with the Dutch.
It will be another chance for Michael to get the boys away and it will be the start of the preparations for the play-offs.
It’s down to the players to put in another performance for Michael in Germany.
We are now in a position that whoever takes over from Michael, there is a squad with a lot of quality and confidence — a team that plays for each other.
For me, his replacement has got to be Stevie Robinson, the current Motherwell boss.
He’s a good manager and he’s worked with the squad before.
The players know him which is important.
It would help keep the continuity in the camp.
But we have to keep someone like Jimmy Nicholl by his side.
He has got all the experience of working at this level and he can certainly help him.
You don’t want to alter things too much when a new manager comes in.
I think Stevie Robinson would be as good as we could get to be the next boss.
Belfast Telegraph Digital