NORTHERN IRELAND WERE held at home by Luxembourg tonight, conceding a late equaliser in their World Cup qualifier.
Michael O’Neill’s side took the lead in the 14th minute through Dean Shiels but they let that lead slip late on.
Daniel Da Mota hit a shot off Ryan McGivern and it found it’s way into the death.
Scotland, meanwhile, did no better as they came from behind to secure a 1-1 draw with minnows Macedonia at Hampden heaping the pressure on coach Craig Levein.
After starting their campaign with a disappointing goalless draw with Serbia on Saturday Scotland had been desperate to secure a win against Macedonia, who sit 50 places below the Scots in the world rankings.
However, the visitors belied their lowly status as they dominated the opening proceedings and took an 11th minute lead through Nikolce Noveski, although the Macedonian defender looked a yard offside.
Allan McGregor saved with his legs from an Agim Ibraimi shot before a mistake from Macedonia allowed Kenny Miller to tap in a 43rd minute equaliser. Substitute Ferhan Hasani rattled the post with a fierce strike in the second half before fellow sub Jordan Rhodes headed into the side netting for Scotland.
The Scots had keeper McGregor to thank for securing them a point as he twice came to the rescue with superb saves from Daniel Georgievski and Mirko Ivanovski. The result, which was greeted with a chorus of jeers from the Tartan Army at the final whistle, leaves Scotland in fourth place in Group A behind Serbia, Belgium and Croatia.
If Levein is under pressure in Scotland, Chris Coleman must be watching his back in Wales. Gary Speed’s replacement has yet to win a game as national team boss and tonight saw his charges hammered 6-1 by Serbia.
- additional reporting AFP