NI manager Michael O'Neill taking positives from defeat

Craig Forsyth and Josh Magennis
Craig Forsyth and Josh Magennis in action as Scotland beat Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill says he will take "more positives than negatives" from his side's 1-0 friendly defeat by Scotland at Hampden Park.

Christophe Berra scored the winning goal five minutes from time in Glasgow.

"We allowed Scotland to press too much and didn't create as much as we would have liked," said the NI manager.

"It was great to see some young lads get minutes under their belt. Michael McGovern did very well and Stuart Dallas was excellent," added O'Neill.

Northern Ireland are now without a win in their last 22 friendly internationals, losing 17 of those games.

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O'Neill

"When we had possession, we could have done a little bit more with it at times. We just lacked that final pass.

"We put a few good crosses into the box but never really managed to get on the end of any.

"Among the plusses was Paddy McNair, who stuck to his task well on his debut and Jonny Evans and Aaron Hughes were excellent in defence.

"Michael McGovern deserved to keep a clean sheet but we are glad to get through the game with no injury problems of any consequence.

"I have some decisions to make - we left seven or eight players out tonight who will be fresh to play on Sunday but there are some who did themselves no harm at all in this game.

"There is a fantastic spirit in the camp and we are all looking forward to the Finland game."

Goalkeeper McGovern produced several fine saves to deny the Scots as he made his first-ever start for Northern Ireland, almost five years since his only other cap against Chile.

"It was an okay game, although both teams could have upped the tempo a wee bit," said McGovern.

"It was a good exercise for some players who haven't been playing regularly with their club sides, and others of us who haven't played too many international matches.

"The big game is the one against Finland though and there is a lot of confidence in the camp.

"The start we have had has been magnificent and we'll never have a better chance to qualify for a major tournament," added the Hamilton Academical skipper.

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