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Nicholl named O'Neill's assistant

Jimmy Nicholl has been named as assistant manager to Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill.

The Cowdenbeath boss steps into the role vacated by Billy McKinlay in September when he took on the Watford job full-time, only to be replaced eight days later by Slavisa Jokanovic.

Jim Magilton and Stephen Robinson have fulfilled the role in the meantime, but O'Neill was keen to appoint a permanent replacement and has found his man in the former Northern Ireland defender, who played in both the 1982 and 1986 World Cup finals.

"I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Jimmy onboard," O'Neill said. "He has vast experience as a player and a coach and having been capped 73 times he knows what it means to play for Northern Ireland and what an honour it is.

"I have known Jimmy for over 25 years and I know that he will be a huge asset to my backroom team."

Nicoll will remain in charge of Scottish Championship side Cowdenbeath while committing to Northern Ireland for the remainder of the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.

"Having played in two World Cups for Northern Ireland nothing would thrill me more than to be part of the squad to qualify for another major tournament and I am delighted that Michael and the Irish FA have seen fit to place such trust in me," he said. "I can't wait to get started."

Meanwhile, O'Neill has called up Dundee United midfielder Paul Paton and left-back Daniel Lafferty, who is playing at Rotherham on loan from Burnley, for his squad to play Scotland and Finland at the end of the month.

The pair have come in to replace Kilmarnock's Sammy Clingan and Shane Ferguson, on loan at Rangers from Newcastle, who have both been ruled out with knee injuries.

Northern Ireland play Scotland in a friendly at Hampden Park on March 25 before their Euro 2016 qualifier against Finland in Belfast four days later.

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