Northern Ireland match-winner Paterson proud of Russia strike

The 26-year-old Huddersfield Town forward scored the only goal of the World Cup 2014 qualifying clash, with the national team boss praising his side for securing a "big result"
Northern Ireland striker Martin Paterson was delighted to score the goal that sealed Wednesday's 1-0 win over Russia, the first of Michael O'Neill's reign.

Despite early Russian pressure, the Huddersfield Town forward grabbed the only goal of the World Cup 2014 qualifying clash, heading home Niall McGinn’s deep cross.

And the attacker was duly ecstatic with both his personal contribution and the whole side's performance in an impressive victory.

"It was a great win against a very strong team," he told reporters. "Tonight was about the collective group, not just the goalscorer.

"We have tried to compete throughout the campaign and tonight we got the result. International football can be difficult, even at home, so we're delighted with the win."

O'Neill's contract is set to run out at the end of this year but his teams' win over Fabio Capello's side will do his chances of securing an extension no harm.

After the match the 44-year-old was clearly happy with what he had seen after some disappointing recent showings at home.

He added: "The quality we had on the ball was excellent. It is a big result for us against a very strong team.

"[We did] nothing different that we haven't done in previous games, but tonight we just had 11 real players on the pitch, 13 for the lads that came on.

"The work-rate of the team and their quality on the ball was excellent. I think we had six players on the team who've had less than 10 starts for Northern Ireland, so that gives an indication of where they are in terms of their development. They were fantastic."

The victory was the nation's first in what has been a dismal qualifying campaign, in which they have failed to beat either Luxembourg or Azerbaijan at their Windsor Park home.