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No switch for Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill as SFA back Gordan Strachan to revive Scotland

By Mark Staniforth

Northern Ireland fans will be relieved to learn that Gordon Strachan has been given unanimous backing by the Scottish Football Association board.

Strachan will continue as Scotland manager after board members accepted his assertion that he could turn their World Cup campaign around.

Edinburgh-based O'Neill has been linked with the post and the Northern Ireland boss was reluctant to discuss the speculation at a press conference ahead of the friendly against Croatia.

O'Neill would be a natural contender for the job after guiding Northern Ireland to the last 16 of the Euro 2016 finals against the odds.

But in a statement, SFA chief executive Stewart Regan said: "We support Gordon unanimously in improving our qualification prospects."

Strachan's future came under scrutiny for the second month running after last Friday's 3-0 defeat by England left Scotland fifth in Group F with four points from as many matches.

But he convinced SFA board members, whose review resulted in a decision to "continue to support Gordon Strachan and his staff".

Regan said: "The board have considered the team's performance since the start of the campaign and subsequently discussed the disappointing points total after four matches.

"Gordon shared the disappointment of the board and, of course, the fans.

"He is adamant, however, that we can recover the position and believes a play-off place still to be attainable.

"The board are convinced that he still has the hunger for this challenge and we have four home qualifiers in 2017 to rejuvenate our campaign."

• MK Dons have held early talks with Steven Gerrard over their vacant managerial position.

The 36-year-old Liverpool legend will not be renewing his contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy when it expires.

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