15/10/1980 Belfast Sweden 3-0 Noel Brotherston, Sammy McIlroy, Jimmy Nicholl
Jim Platt, Jimmy Nicholl, Mal Donaghy, Chris Nicholl, John McClelland, Tommy Cassidy (David McCreery), Noel Brotherston, Martin O’Neill, Billy Hamilton (Terry Cochrane), Gerry Armstrong, Sammy McIlroy
When Sweden visited Windsor Park, they had already played two qualifiers, both at home and with disappointing fortunes. They were held by Israel, 1-1, and then beaten 0-1 to a Gordon Strachan goal against Scotland. Brotherston scored his 3rd goal for his country when he put them in front after 24 minutes. Sammy McIlroy then made it 2-0 four minutes later. Another United player, Jimmy Nicholl, scored his only international goal and Northern Ireland were 3-0 up by half-time. That remained the final score and the Irish were buoyant from their start. Manager, Bingham claimed afterwards “this was the best performances since I’ve been manager”.
ll three goals in this 3pm kick-off came in a 13 minute burst in the first half, Gerry Armstrong set up the first two – Noel Brotherston scoring on 24 and Sammy McIlroy on 28. Jimmy Nicholl fired in a 25 yard volley for 3-0 on 37. Manager Billy Bingham declared “It’s the best performance since I’ve been manager.”
Billy Bingham – “That was the best performance I’ve seen from my team since I returned to the job of Northern Ireland manager.”