Hungary 1 Northern Ireland 2: Lafferty happy to be back on target

Kyle Lafferty and Hungary's Roland Juhasz battle for the ball. PIC: PA
Kyle Lafferty and Hungary's Roland Juhasz battle for the ball. PIC: PA
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Northern Ireland match-winner Kyle Lafferty had the perfect response for his critics after playing a part in both goals in the 2-1 victory over Hungary.

Lafferty was the key figure as Northern Ireland recorded their first away win in four years in the first match of their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.

The 26-year-old Norwich striker, who failed to find the net at all in the previous campaign, bundled home the winner in a 2-1 success in Budapest having laid the equaliser on a plate for Niall McGinn with a fine run and pass.

It was a huge improvement on Lafferty’s recent international output, with just four appearances and one red card to show in World Cup qualifying, and he admitted he owed his country one.

“I think in the last campaign I let myself down, more importantly I let the manager (Michael O’Neill) down, and the squad and the fans,” he told Sky Sports News.

“I knew that my workrate will always be 110% and hopefully my ability will take me further. Thankfully we did it and I’ve got the winning goal so I’m happy.”

He told BBC Sport: “Obviously I had a lot to prove, there were a lot of people talking about how much I want to play for my country, saying I only give 50 per cent but I think that’s rubbish. Anyone who knows me knows I’m always up for selection.

“Everybody makes mistakes, every single person, and I’m no different but we had a point to prove and we did and we took our rewards with the goals.”

Lafferty wasted no time in claiming his side’s winner, despite the scrappiest of finishes as he battled to get the ball over the line.

“A few of the lads were telling me it was an own-goal but I got the end touch, definitely,” he said.

“I had two or three chances at it. If it was an own-goal it was an own-goal but I definitely got the final touch.”

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