Paddy McNair discusses his ‘mad’ Northern Ireland goal
Middlesbrough midfielder Paddy McNair scored his first goal for Northern Ireland on Tuesday night, keeping the pressure on European giants Germany and Holland.
Michael O'Neill's side left it late as they finally overcame Belarus 1-0 in Borisov, courtesy of McNair's 86th-minute strike.
And McNair, who made just 16 Championship appearances for Boro last season, admitted the goal was extra special with his mum and dad in attendance.
“It was mad. I’ve always wanted to score for Northern Ireland so it was an incredible feeling," said McNair.
“It was also lovely to score in front of my mum and dad. It’s also my mum’s birthday tomorrow so it was really nice and an early birthday present for her.
“I think I was due one. I got a bit of stick for missing one in Estonia so it was good to get on the score-sheet and what a time to get it so late on.”
“They don’t get to many away games so I’ll have to get them to come to more in the future."
The result means the Green and White Army remain three points clear of Germany, who have played a game less, at the top of their Euro 2020 qualifying group, following four wins from four.
O'Neill's men are also in the same group as Nations League runners-up Holland, and McNair is keen to keep up the pressure.
“To be where we are halfway through the campaign is unbelievable and it definitely puts the pressure on Germany and Holland to keep winning games,” he added.
“They still have to come to Belfast and they know they’ll have to beat us when the time comes.
“Being top of the group sounds nice and we’ll enjoy it, but we know there’s still a lot of work to do and our focus will soon turn to the games in September.”
McNair's Boro team-mate George Saville also featured for Northern Ireland against Belarus as a 69th-minute substitute.