Aberdeen midfielder Niall McGinn is confident Northern Ireland will not head to the European championship finals in France to make up the numbers.
Manager Michael O’Neill’s squad caused a major upset by winning their qualifying group to reach a first major tournament finals since the 1986 World Cup.
Northern Ireland have been drawn in a difficult Euro 2016 group alongside world champions Germany as well as Poland and Ukraine.
The odds may be stacked against them, but McGinn, who will meet up with his international team-mates on Monday, sees no reason why they should not head to France with optimism.
He said: “We are unbeaten in 10 matches which is an incredible achievement. We want to go there and give a good account of ourselves, if we do that then anything can happen.
“When we first qualified there was a lot of excitement but the closer the finals get the more realistic we all have to be.
“I wasn’t even born the last time Northern Ireland qualified for a major tournament and to be part of it is incredible.
“I just have to enjoy every minute of it. The whole build-up over the last couple of months has been great and it has really kicked in the tournament is just around the corner. I will cherish every minute of it.”
Manager O’Neill has earned plenty of praise for his part in Northern Ireland’s recent success.
The 46-year-old, who spent a short loan spell with Aberdeen during his playing career, has been linked with the vacant Celtic manager’s job.
McGinn added: “Talk about the manager has been around since the campaign got off to such a good start.
“We qualified by finishing first so it is normal for clubs to be interested in a manager who is doing well.
“Being realistic, I’m sure there are a number of clubs out there after him.
“I think if we have a good Euros campaign and we manage to get out the group stage there will definitely be a lot more interest.
“It will be a reward for the work he has done. He is definitely going to have a lot of options.”