NORTHERN Ireland are almost certainly assured of a play-off place after a sensational victory over Czech Republic on Monday night.
Conor McLaughlin started at right-back as Jonny Evans gave Michael O’Neill’s side the lead, before Chris Brunt doubled the advantage four minutes before the half-time break.
It was Northern Ireland’s fifth successive win for the first time in their history, but, more importantly, the result puts them second in Group C on 19 points from eight games.
They have secured second place in the group and should be one of the eight runners-up out of nine to progress to a two-legged play-off.
Shane Ferguson was an 84th-minute substitute on an historic night at Windsor Park, as O’Neill’s side moved closer to a first appearance at a World Cup since 1986.
Meanwhile, Jordan Archer was part of a Scotland squad that kept alive their hopes in Group F after a 2-0 win over Malta.
Gordon Strachan’s Tartan Army are in fourth place, level on points with Slovenia and a point behind Slovakia with two games remaining.
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