Hamilton savours sweet moment

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The Independent Online
Liechtenstein 0 Northern Ireland 4

Jimmy Quinn closed in on Northern Ireland's scoring record in his side's European Championship victory stroll at the Eschen/Mauren Sportpark yesterday afternoon.

Quinn, who will be 36 next month, netted one of his country's three second- half goals to move to within one of Colin Clarke's record of 13 goals for the Ulstermen.

Northern Ireland dismissed the part-time Group Six stragglers in a ruthless and professional manner, as their superior technique and fitness became more apparent after the break.

It was satisfying for the manager, Bryan Hamilton, to succeed so comprehensively where Jack Charlton's Republic team could do no more than draw.

Liechtenstein's already slim resources were stretched by the absence of first-choice goalkeeper Martin Heeb - their hero against the Republic - and their only full-time professional, Mario Frick - and Northern Ireland made them pay.

Phil Gray missed a simple chance in the second minute, but Liechtenstein's defensive discipline stayed intact only until the 36th minute. A long Alan Fettis clearance was headed on by Gray for Michael O'Neill to strike from close range.

After the break, Northern Ireland drove forward relentlessly. The free- kicks of West Ham's Michael Hughes proved one of their most dangerous weapons, and one of them produced the second goal after 49 minutes. Quinn missed the ball but Tottenham's Gerry McMahon knelt behind him to head in his first international goal.

Quinn put his name on the scoresheet with a 30-yard drive in the 55th minute, after a bad error by Harry Zech, and Gray crowned a hard-working performance with the fourth when he headed in McMahon's 72ndminute cross.

Fettis, a spectator for most of the match, did well to tip over a curling shot from Franz Schadler in the closing stages.

Liechtenstein may possess one of the most spectacular grounds in world football - but not one of the most impressive European records. They finished their Group Six programme with one point and 40 goals conceded in 10 matches.

Nevertheless, the tiny principality, with a population of less than 30,000, has confirmed its entry to the next World Cup and may soon be facing some of global football's most famous teams in their municipal stadium nestling below the Alps.

LIECHTENSTEIN: Oehry (Frastanz); Hefti (Vaduz), C Frick (Balzers), Hilti (Eschen/Mauren), Hasler (Vaduz), Klaunzer (Eschen/Mauren), Telser (Balzers), Stocker (Balzers), Schadler (Triesenberg), Zech (Vaduz), Oehri (Balzers). Substitutes used: Hanselmann (Vaduz), J Ospelt (Vaduz), Sele (Triesen).

NORTHERN IRELAND: Fettis (Hull City); Lomas (Manchester City), Worthington (Leeds Utd), Hill (Leicester City), Hunter (Wrexham), Lennon (Crewe Alexandra), McMahon (Tottenham Hotspur), O'Neill (Hibernian), Quinn (Reading), P Gray (Sunderland), Hughes (West Ham). Substitutes used: Wood (Walsall), Rowland (West Ham), McGibbon (Manchester Utd).

Referee: L Michel (Slovakia).