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Smith thinks O'Neill would be 'silly' to swap Northern Ireland for Scotland

Northern Ireland full-back Michael Smith claims Michael O'Neill would be "silly" to swap his own country for Scotland.

The Northern Ireland manager has been granted permission to hold talks with the Scottish Football Association but not before his employers put a bumper new contract on the table.

Smith feels O'Neill could achieve more with his current team than Scotland but he and his fellow international colleagues at Tynecastle - Aaron Hughes, Kyle Lafferty and assistant manager Austin MacPhee - are looking on anxiously.

"Nobody knows," the former Peterborough player said. "I've had a few words. Even Austin doesn't know. It's nothing we can worry about, it's up to him, it's his decision.

"If he wants to change then he can go for it, but I think he'd be silly to. He has done such a great job at Northern Ireland, so why move?"

Smith feels O'Neill can build on leading Northern Ireland to the knockout stages of Euro 2016 and the World Cup play-offs.

"I think they can definitely get to the next Euros," he added. "They have done brilliant under Michael over the last few years.

"Scotland are starting to come good, they just missed out there which was unlucky and I know Christophe (Berra) was really down about it, but I think both countries will come strong again come the next Euro campaign."

The 29-year-old, who has one cap, feels O'Neill is destined for bigger things if he leaves his post.

"He's done brilliantly well getting to the Euros and just missing out on the World Cup as well," he said.

"There has been a lot of speculation over his future, he has been talked about for Premier League jobs, which is probably the best league in the world. So that shows you how well he has done.

"He sets the team up very well. He and Austin do their homework on the opposition. They set the team up well to cope with that and counter that and, as you can see, they have stolen games right at the death when they have been hanging on.

"He's a great tactician and he's a great man-manager as well."

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