Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill has played down suggestions he could replace Gordon Strachan as Scotland manager.
O’Neill has been touted by several pundits as the ideal successor should Strachan’s three-year spell in charge of the national team come to an end this week.
Strachan is reportedly weighing up his future in Portugal after Friday’s 3-0 defeat by England at Wembley and is scheduled to have talks with the SFA on Friday.
Friday’s defeat is Scotland’s second loss in their opening four matches of the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign and, with his side second bottom of Group F, Strachan’s position is in doubt.
The 59-year-old considered quitting after the loss in Slovakia last month but decided to stay on for the game against the Auld Enemy but, with England cruising to victory at Wembley, Strachan’s future is again in doubt.
Two former Scotland forwards – Charlie Nicholas and Kris Boyd – are divided in their opinions on whether Gothenburg Great Strachan should continue and the list of potential replacements is already being drawn up.
Former Don and ex-Scotland manager Alex McLeish is available should the vacancy arise, while Sunderland manager David Moyes is also reportedly interested in the role as speculation about his position with the English Premier League club intensifies after the club’s poor start to the new season.
O’Neill has also been included following his impressive feat in leading his side to the finals of the European championship finals in the summer.
The former Brechin City and Shamrock Rovers manager, who lives in Edinburgh, signed a new four-year deal with Northern Ireland in March and was quick to play down suggestions yesterday.
Asked if Northern Irish supporters 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, a manager 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.
Others in the Northern Irish backroom team may find themselves the subject of Scottish interest, too, with highly-regarded assistant Austin MacPhee linked to his country’s technical director role.