Josh Magennis: 'Stand out' Northern Ireland squad wants to make history

Josh Magennis wants the current group of Northern Ireland players to leave a lasting legacy after achieving their latest slice of history in San Marino on Friday night.

A brace from Magennis and Steven Davis' penalty ensured Michael O'Neill's team set a new record for consecutive wins as they made it four on the spin following previous triumphs over Norway, New Zealand and Azerbaijan.

It also strengthened their grip on second spot in World Cup qualifying Group C, with a runners-up spot guaranteed if they avoid defeat to Czech Republic on Monday night.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill.

That would probably lead to a play-off berth too and the opportunity to reach consecutive major tournament finals for the first time.

Magennis is eyeing more than just a point, though, with the importance of maintaining their current winning streak paramount to him as they enter a final stretch they hope will be extended into November.

"We just don't want to get there and say, 'All right, we're there'," Magennis said of finishing second.

"We want to get there and push on and the momentum if we make the play-off spot is key. We want to keep winning because we just don't want to be complacent.

"We want to make history. This squad is a stand-out squad and people in the future who are trying to get to where we've been, we want to make sure they have to go a long way to beat it."

Charlton striker Magennis' night might have been more historic had he got his way when the visitors won a 78th-minute penalty courtesy of Alex Gasperoni's handball.

Having already scored twice, the travelling Green and White Army were disappointed to see Magennis was unable to persuade Davis to give him the opportunity to score a hat-trick in an away qualifier.

"As soon as it happened I was like, 'What side am I going to go?'," Magennis added.

"Then I saw Davo going towards it. I said, 'Look, Skip, can I have it?'. He said, 'No chance, I'm the penalty taker', and I said, 'No problem'.

"He's the leader and the captain and what he says goes. I don't think anyone has to ask the question, whether he scored or missed. You just have to show respect to your captain and that's what I did."

There was no treble but Magennis' double took his tally to three international goals in 30 appearances.

His only previous effort came two years ago in the win over Greece in Belfast that sealed Northern Ireland's passage to Euro 2016 on a momentous Windsor Park night that is still fresh in this squad's mind.

"We keep having these special nights at Windsor," Magennis said.

"We did it against Greece and we have a crack at doing it against Czech Republic at home again. It's going to be fantastic, a sell-out and it is going to be rocking.

"Hopefully we can do it in style. I don't think Michael's going to be the one to say, 'We'll just get a point and then we can crack on'.

"I think those days are long gone. He's going to try to play the way he wants to play. We know the reward is there."

AP


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