Republic of Ireland captain Robbie Keane insisted beating Macedonia was more important than him reaching his half century of international goals.
Keane's double strike took him on to 51 in a green shirt and kept Giovanni Trapattoni's men level with Slovakia and Russia at the top of Group B.
"Three points are more important than Robbie Keane scoring," said the striker after the 2-0 win in Skopje.
"We were the better team. They had possession, but did not create much."
Keane's two goals made him the first British or Irish player to reach 50 senior international goals.
He moved ahead of England's top marksman, Sir Bobby Charlton, who scored 49 times.
"It is great to reach it," added Keane.
"When I started out Niall Quinn said I would do it, and I am delighted I have."
The win left Ireland level on points with Russia and Slovakia at the top of Group B ahead of September clashes with both.
Manager Trapattoni said: "Slovakia at home is difficult, and then the game in Moscow.
"Our hope is to get to Russia knowing that if win the match, we can top the group."