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O'Neill aims to lift North

Michael O'Neill wants his players to put a smile back on the faces of Northern Ireland fans after a tough week in Belfast.

Extreme weather conditions over the weekend forced the postponement of the World Cup qualifier against Russia on Friday night and then again the following afternoon, but that was far from the only problem experienced in the country.

SUFFERING

The snow that had settled on the Windsor Park pitch also led to thousands of homes suffering power cuts, city centre businesses being hit by the same problem and the closure of the runway at George Best Belfast City Airport.

Conditions have eased up over the last couple of days and the Irish Football Association are confident there will be no problems with tonight's Group F meeting with Israel.

O'Neill was also satisfied after personally assessing the playing surface and all that remains to complete the growing feel-good factor is a positive result tonight.

"The weather got the better of us on this occasion. But I always think the players are fully aware and recognise the significance of a positive result," he said. "If it brightens the nation then that's a nice side effect to have."

NORTHERN IRELAND v ISRAEL, LIVE SKY SPORTS 3 (KO 7.45)


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