Belfast Telegraph

We must fight to keep Northern Ireland boss, says Armstrong as Scottish FA turns attention to O'Neill

Legend Armstrong tells Scottish FA to forget about move for O’Neill

By Graham Luney

Northern Ireland legend Gerry Armstrong has warned the Scottish FA to forget about launching a raid to snatch Michael O'Neill.

Scotland are on the hunt for a new manager after parting company with Gordon Strachan, and O'Neill, who has guided Northern Ireland to the last 16 of Euro 2016 and into a play-off spot for next summer's World Cup Finals, is on their wanted list.

The 48-year-old is fully focused on taking on either Italy, Switzerland, Croatia or Denmark in next month's play-off, meaning Scottish FA chiefs may wait to see how those clashes unfold before making a move.

Former Manchester United boss David Moyes is an early favourite for the role, with O'Neill a 16/1 shot but Armstrong, Northern Ireland's 1982 World Cup hero, expects the former Shamrock Rovers chief to take on a club job when he eventually leaves the international set-up.

"Michael has a huge couple of weeks coming up and we don't need him going anywhere," said Armstrong.

"I don't believe he can improve his standing in international football anyway.

"If he took the Scotland job I don't see how anything he could achieve would top what is doing with Northern Ireland.

"When he leaves it will be for a big club job, maybe even in the Premier League, rather than another international one.

"He lives in Edinburgh and has a great understanding of the Scottish game so I can understand the interest in Michael, but hopefully we can win the play-off and he will lead us in the World Cup finals."

Former Northern Ireland international Neil Lennon says he doesn't want the Scotland job.

"Not really, not at the minute," said the Hibs boss. "I get surprised when I see younger managers taking it on."

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