Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington believes his team's 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifying campaign has been a success. The province finished fourth in Group 3 after a 0-0 draw against the Czech Republic at the Synot Tip Arena. Worthington was delighted with the response of his team, after the home defeat by Slovakia effectively ended their hopes of progressing.
He said: "It has been a good campaign for us overall and I think we can take a lot of positives away. We did drop our guard against Slovakia and I have said if you don't treat the game with respect, it can kick you in the teeth, and that is what happened.
"But I asked for a big performance and the players didn't let me down. I knew if they performed, they would get a result and we certainly deserved it.
"There is no point in looking back and asking, 'What might have been for this campaign?'. I only want to look forward," said Worthington. "The players have been super and the staff have been first class throughout also. The supporters, home and away, have been amazing as always."
It has been a good campaign for us overall and I think we can take a lot of positives away.
Northern Ireland could have sealed a victory, only for Petr Cech to turn Niall McGinn's effort around the post in the 41st minute. It was McGinn's first start for the province and Worthington singled out the Celtic midfielder for praise.
He said: "I thought little Niall McGinn was fantastic. He was a breath of fresh air for us. His running at the Czech defence caused them all sorts of problems.
"It is terrific to have him on board. I wasn't at all surprised at his impact on the game because I am well aware of what he is capable of. He has been around the squad throughout the campaign."
The Czechs could not break Northern Ireland down and goalkeeper Maik Taylor showed that despite his lack of first-team action at Birmingham City, he remains a key player for his national team at the age of 38.
Worthington said: "A clean sheet always gives you a chance, especially on the road. We have been good at home, but those performances must go hand-in-hand with the away games if you want to go places.
"I was delighted with our passing and all in all it was a super performance and a great result."
Meanwhile Worthington confirmed Northern Ireland will be looking to arrange a friendly in November.