‘An amazing feeling’ – NI’s Whyte celebrates win

Gavin Whyte wheels away in celebration after firing home the equaliser against Kosovo

Northern Ireland winger Gavin Whyte says it was a “special moment” to score in the last-gasp 2-1 victory over Kosovo at Windsor Park.

Whyte came off the bench to equalise and then set up Josh Magennis for the injury-time winner as NI secured a Nations League win at the 15th attempt.

“It was an amazing feeling – my family was here so it was a special moment,” said the Cardiff City player.

“It felt like my debut international goal – it was unbelievable.”

Whyte slotted home with eight minutes left after Vedat Muriqi’s opener and then his pinpoint cross was headed in by Magennis deep into added time.

The victory eases the pressure on boss Ian Baraclough as Northern Ireland moved three points clear of bottom spot with their final Group C2 game away to Greece on Tuesday.

“The boys said at half-time we need to pick it up a little more – when you hear the crowd out there it picks you up a bit more and we definitely needed it,” Whyte added.

“We need to take this performance into Tuesday night and it’s going to be another tough game.”

Northern Ireland’s build-up was disrupted when Kyle Lafferty was withdrawn from the squad amid allegations of a sectarian remark and winger Conor McMenamin was pulled out an hour before kick-off after a historical video was shared on social media.

Northern Ireland keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell also shone for the hosts with a number of crucial saves including keeping out a Muriqi strike just seconds before Whyte’s leveller.

“To come back in that kind of fashion after being a goal down showed some real spirit and togetherness – we managed to dig in deep and get ourselves out of it,” Peacock-Farrell said.

“I made a couple of saves which were in key moments of the game and that’s what I’m here to do. I’m really pleased I could affect the game.

Kosovo's Zymer Bytyqi sees his shot saved by Bailey Peacock-Farrell at Windsor Park
Kosovo’s Zymer Bytyqi sees his shot saved by Bailey Peacock-Farrell at Windsor Park

“The subs came on and made an impact. It’s a squad game and everyone was there ready to benefit the team.

“Everyone is really pleased – we’ve managed to get that win now and hopefully we’ll get another one on Tuesday.

“Football is that kind of game with the feelgood factor – you take that into the next game, you build on it and that’s what we’re aiming to do.”

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