Michael O’Neill rejects Scotland: what next for the Tartan Army?
Northern Ireland chief’s decision has left the Scottish FA in ‘turmoil’
Michael O’Neill has rejected the opportunity to take over as manager of Scotland.
The Northern Ireland boss, who led his team to Euro 2016 and the World Cup play-offs, was the Scottish FA’s number one candidate to replace Gordon Strachan. But after weighing up the offer he has decided the role is not the “right opportunity” at this time.
In a statement he said: “Having given the matter a great deal of thought and consideration, I have decided not to take up the opportunity to become the next Scotland national team manager.
“It is 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.”
Scotland have been without a full-time boss since Strachan left in October after failing to qualify for the World Cup finals. SFA performance director Malky Mackay took temporary charge for November’s friendly loss against Holland and the SFA will now go back to the drawing board to recruit Strachan’s successor.
The Record says the process has been branded a “shambles” as it “took an eternity” to speak to Northern Ireland chief O’Neill.
O’Neill has reportedly been offered a new six-year deal by the Irish FA worth £800,000 a year. According to the Record the Scottish FA “incredibly” offered a contract worth less.
Scotland’s next game is against Costa Rica at home on 23 March and they will travel to Hungary for another friendly on 27 March.
Mackay, Alex McLeish and Derek McInnes remain linked with the vacant role - we take a look at the latest odds on who may become the next Scotland manager.
Next Scotland manager betting odds
Latest prices according to the bookies, as of 22 January:
- Alex McLeish: 3/1
- Derek McInnes: 4/1
- Malky Mackay: 5/1
- Steve Clarke: 8/1
- Ally McCoist: 8/1
- Malky Mackay: 2/1
- Alex McLeish: 9/4
- Derek McInnes: 4/1
- Stuart McCall: 12/1
- Cesare Prandelli: 16/1