Belfast Telegraph

Scot McPhee is key in Michael O'Neill's planning for Poland

By Steven Beacom

Scotland may not have made it to the Euro 2016 finals, but one of their own, Austin MacPhee, plays a key role in the Northern Ireland backroom team.

The 36-year-old is an Assistant Coach/Analyst who compiles dossiers on opponents for Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill and helps players understand their roles through video analysis.

And today will be a vital day for McPhee and the team as they look in detail at how to get the better of Poland ahead of Sunday's game in Nice.

"On Friday we are doing video work on the strength and weaknesses of Poland," said MacPhee, who joined the Northern Ireland set up in 2014, having previously been assistant coach at St Mirren.

"But for any weaknesses Poland may have, we need the strengths. We need to identify the strengths to expose their weaknesses.

"If you need Lionel Messi to expose their weaknesses then we are clearly not going to be able to do that so you have to manage that together.

"We will have meetings with the different units of the team.

"The defenders will come in and look at more detail on individual players; not just in terms of their movement.

"When we play on Sunday I will be very calm because I know the work Michael does and we will have done everything possible."

MacPhee (below), who was a young player at Forfar before going to the USA on a Scholarship and playing in Romania and Japan, adds: "I think the key thing that makes what I do a little bit different is that I am a coach that does quite a lot of analysis rather than an analyst.

"That maybe makes it a little bit easier to get the respect of Michael and the players.

"We have some key areas for the games against Poland, Ukraine and Germany where we feel that little individual thing could make a big difference. Once the players trust you and that information it is very rewarding and you can work with them."

Belfast Telegraph