Michael O’Neill has turned down the Scotland job, saying he didn’t feel it was the ‘right opportunity’ for him.
The Northern Ireland boss was the SFA’s number one choice to succeed Gordon Strachan, with Scottish football’s governing body stumping up the cash to free him from his current deal.
Negotiations last week between O’Neill and Scottish football’s governing body were said to have been ‘productive’ but reports emerged this morning that O’Neill was looking more and more likely to turn down the offer.
A statement from O’Neill read: “Having given the matter a great deal of consideration, I have decided not to take up the opportunity to become the next Scotland manager.
“It’s a huge honour to be offered the position however I do not feel that this is the right opportunity for me at this moment in my career.
“I would like to place on record my gratitude to the SFA for the very professional manner in which they conducted negotiations and I would also like to wish them every success for the future.”
The SFA released a statement from chief executive Stewart Regan, who said: “The process of identifying and recruiting a new Scotland national coach remains ongoing.
“The Board of the Scottish FA appointed a sub-committee to oversee the recruitment process, compile a list of suitable candidates and ultimately make a recommendation.
“As part of that process, and in recognition of his work in taking Northern Ireland to UEFA Euro 2016, Michael O’Neill was identified as an obvious candidate for consideration.
“We requested permission to speak to Michael from the Irish Football Association. Michael and his advisers met our delegation in Edinburgh on Thursday and discussed all aspects of the role during a three-hour meeting.
“While this was a positive and cordial discussion, we respect Michael’s decision to remain loyal to Northern Ireland, with whom he has enjoyed great success.
“We wish him well in his future endeavours and thank the Irish FA for their professionalism throughout.
“We now continue our recruitment process from the candidate list established by the selection committee, with a view to giving the new national coach ample time to prepare the squad for the UEFA Nations League.”