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A captain’s tribute – NI’s Steven Davis remembers the fallen

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At last night’s World Cup qualifier in Belfast, Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis led the tributes for the fallen on this remembrance weekend.

Before the game, a minute’s silence was held as well as a wreath layed to pay respects.

Leading from the front as usual on and off the pitch, the Rangers veteran wore an armband, as did the rest of his teammates.

On the night, it was a 1-0 win for the Ulstermen against Lithuania, thanks to a first half own-goal. NI had the ball in the net twice again before half-time but both efforts were ruled out for infringements including something of a controversial VAR call to deny Josh Magennis.

The second half was more even with the visitors coming back into the game after a dire showing in the first 45.

Northern Ireland had further chances but did not capitalise leading to a nervy end to the game in which they held out to secure the three points. Unfortunately, the campaign was already over in competitive terms for Ian Baraclough’s men who cannot qualify for Qatar but a very welcome win sets things up for the last game against European champions Italy on Monday night at Windsor Park.

As for Davis and talk of international retirement, it was vintage stuff on the pitch from the skipper in a performance that belied a man of his age, he was superb and was making forward sprints as late as the last 10 minutes of the game.

It will be an interesting decision for the Rangers man as to what his immediate future holds. He knows he’s getting older and that sacrifices will be needed for his club career but he just shows no signs of slowing down – quite simply, he is a credit to himself and a fantastic footballer.

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