Craigan quits Northern Ireland

Centre-half steps down after eight years

Craigan: Steps down from international duty

Northern Ireland defender Stephen Craigan has announced his retirement from international football.

The 34-year-old Motherwell captain made his debut against Finland in 2003 and last played for his country in the Euro 2012 qualifier against Slovenia in March.

Craigan captained Northern Ireland five times and earned 54 caps during his international career, playing in famous triumphs over Spain in 2005 and England in 2006.

The centre back said: "It has been a wonderful journey and I have loved every minute playing for my country.

"It has been a great privilege playing in front of the Green and White Army who have been amazing during my time with the team and I would like to thank everyone for their support and wish (manager) Nigel (Worthington) and the team all the very best in the up and coming Euro 2012 qualifiers."

Nigel Worthington added: "Northern Ireland is losing a very experienced player and a truly excellent professional. Stephen has been a great servant for Northern Ireland and a fantastic ambassador for the country.

"It is sad to see a player like Stephen retire but I wish him all the very best in his career which lies ahead."