Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis believes Wednesday night’s 1-0 win over Russia at Windsor Park was just reward for all the hard work the team have put in so far in their World Cup qualifying campaign.
Martin Paterson’s first-half header ended manager Michael O’Neill’s long wait for a victory.
O’Neill’s first nine matches in charge of the national side had yielded five draws and four defeats, but his first taste of success at the highest level was a sweet one as he got the better of former England boss Fabio Capello and his highly-rated charges.
And Davis feels it was no less than the home side deserved.
“We tried to make things difficult for them,” the Southampton midfielder told Sky Sports.
“We worked hard tonight and it’s nice to eventually get a reward for all the hard work put in.
“Russia are the top team in the group, they’re a very difficult team to play against. They didn’t give away many chances tonight and I thought we were outstanding, we deserved to win.
“Our performances throughout the campaign, we haven’t really got the result to go alongside them but tonight we managed to do that.”
Goalscorer Paterson added: “It’s a great win against a very strong team.
“International football can be difficult, even at home, so we’re delighted with the win.”