Michael O’Neill plays down link with Scotland job

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill has been touted as an ideal replacement for Gordon Strachan. Picture: Getty

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill has been touted as an ideal replacement for Gordon Strachan. Picture: Getty

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Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill downplayed suggestions he could be interested in any possible managerial vacancy with Scotland by insisting he had “not given it a second thought”.

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Some pundits north of the border have suggested O’Neill would be a perfect fit for the Tartan Army should Strachan’s three-year tenure be ended following a poor start to their World Cup qualifying campaign.

Those tipping Edinburgh-based O’Neill for the post have admired his work in turning around his small country, whom he took to their first ever European Championship finals in the summer, with Northern Ireland also well placed in second after four matches of the qualifiers for Russia.

However, having signed a four-year contract extension back in March, O’Neill insists the possibility of switching jobs at the international level has not entered his conciousness.

Asked if Northern Irish fans should be worried about his links with the Scottish post, O’Neill replied: “No, I don’t think so.

“First of all, there’s someone in that job who I have a huge amount of respect for, who is a manger I played under (at Coventry).

“It’s probably the fact I live in Scotland is a bigger driving factor of that than anything else. I haven’t given a second thought to that at all. I’d rather not give a comment on that situation at the minute to be fair.”

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