Josh Magennis wants the current group of Northern Ireland players to leave a lasting legacy after achieving their latest slice of history in San Marino on Friday night.
A brace from Magennis and Steven Davis’ penalty ensured Michael O’Neill’s team set a new record for consecutive wins as they made it four on the spin following previous triumphs over Norway, New Zealand and Azerbaijan.
It also strengthened their grip on second spot in World Cup qualifying Group C, with a runners-up spot guaranteed if they avoid defeat to Czech Republic on Monday night. That would probably lead to a play-off berth too and the opportunity to reach consecutive major tournament finals for the first time.
Magennis is eyeing more than just a point, though, with the importance of maintaining their current winning streak paramount to him as they enter a final stretch they hope will be extended into November.
“We just don’t want to get there and say, ‘All right, we’re there’,” Magennis said of finishing second. “We want to get there and push on and the momentum if we make the play-off spot is key. We want to keep winning because we just don’t want to be complacent.
“We want to make history. This squad is a stand-out squad and people in the future who are trying to get to where we’ve been, we want to make sure they have to go a long way to beat it.”
Charlton striker Magennis’ night might have been more historic had he got his way when the visitors won a 78th-minute penalty courtesy of Alex Gasperoni’s handball. Having already scored twice, the travelling Green and White Army were disappointed to see Magennis was unable to persuade Davis to give him the opportunity to score a hat-trick in an away qualifier.
“As soon as it happened I was like, ‘What side am I going to go?’,” Magennis added. “Then I saw Davo going towards it. I said, ‘Look, Skip, can I have it?’. He said, ‘No chance, I’m the penalty taker’, and I said, ‘No problem’.
“He’s the leader and the captain and what he says goes. I don’t think anyone has to ask the question, whether he scored or missed. You just have to show respect to your captain and that’s what I did.”