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Michael O'Neill is surprise favourite to become next Hearts manager

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill has been moved to favourite to take over as the next manager of Hearts.

The Edinburgh club sacked Head Coach Ian Cathro after only eight months in charge earlier this week and are now on the look-out for a replacement, with the Scottish Premiership kicking-off this weekend.

O'Neill, who lives in the Scottish capital, would link up with his Northern Ireland assistant at Tynecastle if he were to take the job. Austin MacPhee combines his roles as assistant manager for club and country and is currently helping interim Hearts boss Jon Daly.

O'Neill is as short as 10/11 with William Hill, 13/8 with Sky Bet and 6/4 with Ladbrokes to get the job, all bookies rating him as favourite ahead of interim boss Daly and former Hearts players Paul Hartley and Steven Pressley.

Austin MacPhee is also amongst those considered to have a chance of landing the role, as is former Ballymena United and Lisburn Distillery manager Tommy Wright, currently in charge of St Johnstone.

O'Neill, of course, is currently bidding to guide Northern Ireland to their second successive major finals. Two wins in their next two World Cup qualifying fixtures against San Marino and the Czech Republic would go a long way to confirming their place in the play-offs.

After the country qualified for Euro 2016 - their first major finals since 1986 - they moved up to their highest ever world ranking of 22nd.

And now they'll be hoping the bookies have got this one wrong.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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