Wigan Athletic star is hero for his country

Josh Magennis admitted his stoppage-time winner against Kosovo could prove to be 'massive' for Northern Ireland.

The Wigan Athletic striker popped up to head home a cross from Gavin Whyte - who had earlier equalised - to give his country their first-ever victory in the Nations League at the 15th attempt.

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And it could prove to be one of the most significant goals in recent years, with the home crowd having started to get on the back of manager Ian Baraclough.

Josh Magennis stoops to head home Northern Ireland's winning goal against Kosovo

“It was a hard, tough graft,” acknowledged Magennis. “It was on the verge of being, not toxic, but they (the fans) were not happy.

“I’m just happy we showed the character. The first-half wasn’t the best but in the second-half, we had to come out and perform.

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"Going a goal behind at any level is tough, but to equalise and then go on and win is massive.

“We needed it. It’s been a tough Nations League campaign and we needed to get a win in this competition.

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"Some nations use it as a back door for play-offs to a major competition and that’s what we tried to do, as well.

“We’ve needed an influx of players, but there is a fine line between giving lads a chance at this level and trying to be successful.

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"We deserved the criticism because we have set our own standard in the last number of years.

"It’s been a tough campaign but we’ve tried to do our best and we are just delighted to finally get this win."

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On his dramatic winning goal - a bullet header from a right-wing cross, Magennis added: “It was the type of goal I love trying to create.

"Gavin is an out and out winger, one of the last of the old school, and I knew from training all week when he gets past his defender he will put it in the box and, thank God, when it came in I knew if it was on target, it would have a good chance of going in.

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"I didn’t actually see it go in, I was on the floor but then the place erupted. For it to be the winner was brilliant.”

Magennis also received plaudits from strike partner Dion Charles, who marked his full debut in style.

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"It's my first senior international start, I had my little one and missus over watching and we got the win, so that's the main thing," said the Bolton Wanderers man. "It was brilliant.

"Me and Josh compliment each other really well. Josh is a big physical striker and I work off someone like that. We were a handful all game for them and caused them problems.

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"We just kept going and showed what we're about as a whole squad, even the boys that came off the bench contributed and got us the goals so it's a team game and the main thing is we won."

Latics team-mate James McClean had a less enjoyable weekend, with the Republic of Ireland going down 2-1 against Scotland.