Watch - Rotherham United man Shane Ferguson scores a stunner to give Northern Ireland friendly victory

Northern Ireland’s Shane Ferguson revealed he had words of encouragement ringing in his ear before letting fly with a brilliant strike which secured a friendly win over Estonia.

Sunday, 5th September 2021, 8:31 pm
From left: Northern Ireland's Ciaron Brown, Niall McGinn and Northern Ireland's Shane Ferguson celebrates after scoring their side's first goal during the international friendly soccer match between Estonia and Northern Ireland at the A. Le Coq Arena in Tallinn, Estonia, Sunday, Sept. 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Raul Mee)

The Rotherham United full-back – winning his 50th cap for his country – came off the bench to score the only goal of the game but what a goal.

Ferguson struck from 25 yards into the top corner to keep the momentum going for a much-changed Northern Ireland side as they prepare for a crucial Wirld Cup qualifer with Switzerland in Belfast on Wednesday night.

“It just fell to me nicely,” said Ferguson. “I heard someone from the side say, ‘Have a go’. I knew when it left my foot it had a serious chance. I thought for a second the keeper might have saved it but thankfully it just crept in.

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“I’ve been struggling for a few days with an injury so I didn’t know if I was going to be fit for the last two games. To come in, 50th cap, and do it tonight, obviously it’s a great night for myself and my family. I’m delighted to score and to get the result.

“I couldn’t write it. It was a really nice gesture from Niall (to hand over the armband) as well – he didn’t have to do that.

“I’m delighted with the whole thing, just to keep that winning feeling in the dressing room and to keep that going into Wednesday.”

Manager Ian Baraclough revealed after the match Ferguson had been “touch and go” to play in the game due to an injury.

“He assured me he was right and wanted to play some part, and what a strike,” the manager said. “It was always going straight into the top corner, it had got that trajectory.

“I love him and the way he goes about his work, he deserved that.”