Seven-year-old Alex Eakin enjoyed a special insight into Northern Ireland’s date with destiny against Greece.
The Portadown Youth player was selected, thanks to a Twitter draw, to walk out at Windsor Park as one of the matchday mascots.
“It took me until the weekend probably for the adrenaline to calm down and Alex is still buzzing from the whole experience,” said his father, Simon. “We got chatting to the other parents and two mascots from Portadown, Ruby White and James Hamilton, were part of the night, plus Richhill’s Billy Young.
“The whole process for the mascots was unreal and a credit to the Irish Football Association.
“We had rehearsal on Tuesday and they got to see around the ground, including places like the hospitality suite and media area.
“We changed at the Olympia Leisure Centre and each mascot had his name on a plaque.
“There was also a plaque signed by Michael O’Neill with the date and match details.
“The mascots were presented with a full Northern Ireland replica kit, programme and goody bag.
“During the warm-up the Northern Ireland players took the time to chat to the mascots and it was just a brilliant experience.”