Michael O’Neill: Northern Ireland manager turns down Scotland job


Michael O'Neill has turned down the opportunity to replace Gordon Strachan as Scotland manager.

O'Neill, 48, had been the Scottish FA's preferred candidate for the role.

The former Brechin City and Shamrock Rovers boss said he had "given the matter a great deal of thought and consideration".

"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," he said.

"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."

Having led Northern Ireland to the last 16 at Euro 2016 and the World Cup play-offs, O'Neill has been offered an extended contract by the Irish Football Association. He is contracted until 2020 and the proposed new deal would run until 2024.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill's record - 53 games, 18 wins, 15 draws, 20 losses

The Northern Irishman has had a long association with Scottish football after playing spells at Dundee United, Hibernian, Aberdeen and St Johnstone.

Strachan had a near five-year spell in charge of Scotland but could not lead the national team to their first major finals since the 1998 World Cup.

Craig Brown was in charge of that campaign and Berti Vogts, Walter Smith, Alex McLeish, George Burley and Craig Levein held the post before Strachan.

McLeish said in December becoming Scotland manager for the second time "would suit me very nicely".

SFA performance director Malky Mackay took charge of Scotland's senior team for the November friendly defeat by Netherlands and Scotland's next game will be at home to Costa Rica on 23 March.

Further friendlies follow against Hungary in Budapest (27 March), Peru in Lima (29 May) and an unconfirmed side preparing for this year's World Cup in Mexico City (2 June).

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