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BBC Sport's Simon Hill
"Carew's performance really caught the eye, how well he lead the line"
 real 14k

NI boss Sammy McIlroy
"The result was embarrassing"
 real 56k

Neil Lennon
"I'll talk things over with my club and my family"
 real 14k

IFA Community Officer Michael Boyd
"It's just the small element that are letting us down."
 real 56k

Wednesday, 28 February, 2001, 21:53 GMT
Lennon to think over NI future
Neil Lennon
Lennon was booed by a section of the Belfast crowd
Northern Ireland 0-4 Norway

Neil Lennon is thinking over his international future after being booed during Northern Ireland's heavy defeat against Norway.

The Celtic midfielder was substituted at half-time and left the ground before the end of the game.

That sparked reports that his 36th game for Northern Ireland could have been his last.


I hope to be back but first I will talk things over with my club and family and take it from there
  Neil Lennon

However, in an interview with the BBC, Lennon said he hoped to be back but had to talk things over with family and officials at Celtic.

"In the main, the reception I received was brilliant," said Lennon, who had been targeted by loyalists because of his move to Celtic.

"A lot of people got behind me tonight and I was touched by that.

"There are minorities in all walks of like who make trouble for everyone else.

"But there are a lot more good people than bad in this country.

"I hope to be back but first I will talk things over with my club and family and take it from there."

Northern Ireland's next match is a home World Cup qualifier on 24 March against the Czech Republic.

Northern Ireland manager Sammy McIlroy said he had planned to bring Lennon off as he had had a tough game for Celtic on Sunday.

As for Wednesday's heavy defeat, McIlroy said his side had fallen apart against Norway.

"The defeat was shocking, the result was embarrassing," he said.

John Carew
John Carew shot Norway into a 2-0 lead
"There were players out there going through the motions and that is the first time that has happened since I took over as manager.

"There was no passion and that is not on."

The Norwegians raced into a three-goal lead in the first half.

And when Thorstein Helstad scored early in the second half, it represented the province's worst scoreline since they lost 4-0 at home to Jack Charlton's Republic of Ireland in a European qualifier in November 1994.

Norway's first half goals came from Helstad, John Carew and Stale Stensaas.

The first came in the 20th minute when a weak back pass from Aaron Hughes let in Helstad and he slotted the ball home.

On the half-hour mark the visitors doubled their lead as Helstad set up Carew to fire a right-foot drive into the corner of the net.

Northern Ireland's experimental 3-5-2 formation was clearly not working and the Norwegians were exploiting the huge gaps left down each flank behind wingbacks Jon McCarthy and Peter Kennedy.

On 37 minutes it was 3-0 when Carew turned provider to tee up Stale Stensaas to score from an almost identical position on the left.

Northern Ireland: Taylor, Taggart, Murdock, Aaron Hughes, Kennedy, Magilton, Lennon, Jeff Whitley, McCarthy, Healy, Ferguson. Subs: Wright, Mark Williams, Sonner, Kirk, Elliott, Gray, Johnson, Nolan, Griffin.

Norway: Myhre, Bergdolmo, Lundekvam, Berg, Stensaas, Tessem, Eirik Bakke, Larsen, Carew, Solskjaer, Helstad. Subs: Frode Olsen, Aarsheim, Frode Johnsen, Andersen, Eggen, Berre.

Referee: K Clark (Scotland).

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See also:

28 Feb 01 |  Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland v Norway clockwatch
27 Feb 01 |  Northern Ireland
McIlroy hopes for thaw
27 Feb 01 |  Northern Ireland
Lennon upset by controversy
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