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Aaron Hughes grabbed a rare goal as Northern Ireland thrashed the Faroe Islands 4-0 in a Euro 2012 qualifier last night.

The Fulham defender scored his first international goal to set Nigel Worthington’s side on their way to an important victory in Group C. Hughes steered a Gareth McAuley cross home via the post after the Faroes had failed to clear a corner. The home side sealed the win with two goals in five second-half minutes. First, former Fulham midfielder Steven Davis drove home from 25 yards and then Celtic winger Paddy McCourt scored the first of two fine solo goals.

The win lifts Northern Ireland to third place in Group C and was vital after Worthington’s side could only draw in the Faroe Islands earlier in the campaign. Chris Baird also came through ninety minutes at right back alongside Hughes.

Hughes was delighted to secure the three points:

I’m delighted for everyone tonight. We thought it would be a tough game and that they would make it difficult for us and they did.

They were very defensive. They didn’t really occupy our centre halves and that gave us a bit more freedom to go and attack them.

We had to be patient and we had to build up. To come away with a 4-0 win, we have to be happy with that. This puts us in a fantastic position in the group. The way other results were going meant we were always in it.

Northern Ireland: Camp, Baird, McAuley (Cathcart 45), Hughes, J Evans, Clingan, Davis, McCann, Corry Evans (McGinn 59), Healy (Ward 83), McCourt. Subs (not used): Mannus, McGivern, Thompson, Gorman.