Michael O'Neill savours first win as Northern Ireland boss

Media playback is not supported on this device

O'Neill delighted by NI win over Russia

Michael O'Neill heaped praise on his young players as he savoured his first win after 10 matches in charge of Northern Ireland.

O'Neill was delighted with a superb 1-0 win over Fabio Capello's Russia in Wednesday's World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park.

"It is a great result for the team and for me personally," said O'Neill.

"When you take on a job you want to get that win straight away, but I have had to wait. Tonight I can enjoy it."

The win was only Northern's third in their last 33 matches but O'Neill was convinced he saw enough to suggest this remarkable victory was not a one-off.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Capello surprised by N Ireland display

"There were young players in the team, lads who only had a handful of caps between them and they really came of age tonight," added the NI boss.

"It was disappointing to lose Jonny Evans [to injury] just before the game but it could not be helped and it gave Craig Cathcart the chance to come in. He and Gareth McAuley were excellent.

"Sometimes players have to wait for their opportunity at international level.

"Jamie Ward, for example, has been injured a lot for me and tonight he came in and was absolutely outstanding.

"Shane Ferguson produced 90 minutes of the really highest quality, Daniel Lafferty was outstanding.

"They're all young players who have only came into the team in the last 12-18 months.

"It is just one game but I think we have something substantial to build on."

Skipper Steven Davis said it was nice to eventually get a reward for all the hard work put in.

"Russia are the top team in the group and they are a difficult team to play against. They didn't give away many chances and I thought we were outstanding, we deserved to win," he said.

"Our performances throughout the campaign, we have not really got the result to go alongside them but tonight we managed to do that."

Top Stories