Report: Northern Ireland boss O'Neill offered double money by Scotland

by 6d ago
Charles McQuillan / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Michael O'Neill's feats with Northern Ireland haven't gone unnoticed.

The Scottish Football Association is trying to tempt the 48-year-old to its unmanned national team helm, and the Guardian's Andy Hunter understands O'Neill's pay packet will double if he decides to take the job.

Rangers, Sunderland, and some Major League Soccer outfits are also said to be interested in appointing O'Neill.

The Portadown native guided Norn Iron to the brink of World Cup qualification, missing out on the finals due to a dodgy penalty call in Switzerland's favour during the opening leg. Northern Ireland finished above the Czech Republic and Norway in Group C to reach that stage.

That was after O'Neill rewrote the history books at Euro 2016. That competition was the first major tournament appearance for Northern Ireland since the 1986 World Cup, and it ended with a commendable finish in the last 16 thanks to a 2-0 defeat of Ukraine in the group stages.

While he won't have to overcome a drought of Northern Ireland proportions if he assumes the Scotland helm, the country's football setup is in need of a lift. The unsuccessful campaign for World Cup qualification was rife with odd and unadventurous team selections, and culminated in the ousted Gordon Strachan blaming the genetic makeup of Scottish people for his failings.

"Genetically we are behind. In the last campaign we were the second smallest, apart from Spain," he said after the 2-2 draw in Slovenia, citing one of the most successful international sides of the past decade to underpin his argument.

Scotland hasn't appeared at a major tournament since 1998, when it fell in a group featuring Brazil, Norway, and Morocco at that year's World Cup. However, there are green shoots of a fresh and talented generation emerging, featuring Kieran Tierney, Andy Robertson, and Jason Cummings.