Kenny Shiels dedicates dominant Northern Ireland victory to legend George Best
Kenny Shiels dedicated Northern Ireland’s record-breaking 11-0 victory over North Macedonia in Thursday’s World Cup qualifier to George Best on the 16th anniversary of his death.
On an unforgettable day in Skopje, Rachel Furness joined David Healy on 36 goals for her country after netting a hat-trick in a ruthless performance by Shiels’ side.
Despite North Macedonia being ranked 131st in the world, the manner of Northern Ireland’s victory over the international football minnows was the ‘statement’ performance Sheils had demanded, and then some.
Now level on points in second place in Group D with Austria at the half-way point of the campaign - two points behind leaders England - Northern Ireland will be relishing the reverse fixture at a sold-out Seaview on Monday as they bid to end a memorable year on a high, before switching their focus to the build-up for the Euro 2022 finals next summer.
Proud manager Shiels told the Irish FA: “I said let’s do it for George Best, he was our hero. He wore number 11 when he played for us, we’ve done it in the 11th month, we’ve scored 11 goals - so all of that is resonating with me.
“I hope he’s watching us up there to see that we’re doing it for Northern Ireland.”
Praising his players, the 65-year-old added: “You could see the immense intensity and how they wanted it so much all week. Their hearts were dancing in their eyes.
“They can’t wait to get at it, we curb it and influence it; we had to make sure it was calculated.
“I’m delighted for the girls and their jubilation is fantastic to see.”