Michael O'Neill wants to restore fans' happiness

Michael O'Neill
© PA Photos
Michael O'Neill says that Northern Ireland need to restore the country's feel-good factor by beating Israel.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill has revealed that he wants his side to put a smile back on the faces of the country after a tough week in Belfast.

As well as enduring a double postponement of their World Cup qualifier with Russia last week, the country suffered mass power cuts as well as damaged transport links due to the snow.

However, their qualifying match with Israel looks likely to go ahead on Tuesday, and O'Neill wants to resurrect the feel-good factor in the country that it witnessed when golfing heroes Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke succeed on the international stage.

"This week we've had power cuts and everything else that was going on in the country. There were a lot more severe things going on other than the fact we couldn't get a football match on," O'Neill told the Guardian.

"The weather got the better of us on this occasion. But I always think the players are fully aware and recognise the significance of a positive result.

"We see that with Ulster rugby, we see that with the golfers when they are successful and this is an opportunity for us for a good performance and a good result. If it brightens the nation, then that's a nice side-effect to have."

Northern Ireland host Israel at Windsor Park on Tuesday night.

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