Chris Baird can see Euro Championship finals on the horizon

Northern Ireland's Chris Baird
Northern Ireland's Chris Baird

Chris Baird claims Northern Ireland can “see the finishing line” as they look to book their place at a first ever European Championship.

Michael O’Neill’s side have been a revelation in Euro 2016 qualifying, winning four of their first five games to sit second in Group F.

Their only setback thus far came in March when they lost 1-0 in Romania, but success in the return fixture on Saturday would leave them in a handsome position with four matches remaining.

It is three decades since Northern Ireland last appeared on the big stage, at the 1986 World Cup, and Baird is starting to believe that long absence could soon be at an end.

“To qualify for a first major tournament in 30 years, a first Euros ever, would be massive not just for us but for the whole country,” said Baird.

“Hopefully things are looking up for us. Now that we’re in this position we can see the finishing line in front of us and we want to get there sooner rather than later.

“The right result on Saturday puts us in a phenomenal position with the next two fixtures away to the Faroe Islands and home to Hungary.

“It’s working out for us. We’re concentrating solely on this one because if we get that right result we’re in an unbelievable place.

“We know we can get victory in the Faroes, that’s for sure, so if we had two wins from our next two games that’s us pretty much qualified.

“That’s my personal opinion and I think all the players would agree.

“We’re ready for it.”