Hearts’ Michael Smith is a reliable player who’ll always give you 7/10 on matchdays. That’s proved to be the case on international duty, as he helped Northern Ireland to a landmark victory.
Michael O’Neil’s side secured a 1-0 victory over Belarus in Euro 2020 qualifying. The result means his Northern Irishmen are the first team from the country to win the opening four games of a qualifying campaign.
It’s a fantastic achievement for the country and one Smith played a part in.
The big tests are coming for Smith and Northern Ireland
Smith has featured in the past two games on this run. He’ll hope to keep his starting position at right-back for the ultimate tests of O’Neil’s side’s ability.
They face a double header against Germany and the Netherlands. Both teams are blessed with world-class talent and will provide much bigger tests than Estonia and Belarus ever could.
The good thing for Northern Ireland though is it’s now a three horse race for qualification .Both Estonia and Belarus are out of contention after failing to pick up a point from any of their opening games.
O’Neil’s side also currently have a remarkable nine point gap between them in first and the Netherlands in third. This could all change very quickly though as the third place side have two games in hand.
The victory in Belarus gave them back-to-back qualifying victories away from home for only the second time, and the first since 1993.
Smith has been very reliable over these two games, which will be of no surprise to Jambos fans everywhere. They’ll hope their right-back can go onto greatness with his national side when the big game double headers roll around.