Michael O’Neill has no plans to quit as Northern Ireland manager

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill

Michael O’Neill insists he has no intention of walking out on Northern Ireland as speculation continues to mount over his future.

O’Neill is believed to be on a short-list of potential candidates to replace Peter Houston at Dundee United.

Houston is set to leave the Tannadice club this summer, prompting United chiefs to kick-start the search for a successor.

Northern Ireland manager O’Neill spent four years with Dundee United as a player from 1989 to 1993 and was on the SPL outfit’s radar when he was at Shamrock Rovers.

But speaking during a press conference to name his squad for February’s friendly against Malta, O’Neill said he was committed to his role with the IFA.

“The story is something that was written in Scotland - it is a nothing story as far as I am concerned,” he said.

“I have never walked out on a contract in the past.

“I never did it as a player - I didn’t always get a second contract, but that’s another story.

“This is a report that emanated from Scotland. Dundee United are looking for a manager given the current circumstances, and I appear to be one of about 50 people who have been linked with the job so I am not giving it a lot of thought.”

O’Neill insists his sole focus is on the friendly date with Malta where he will try to record his first victory since taking over from Nigel Worthington 12 months ago.

Northern Ireland went seven games without a win during 2012 - including three defeats and four draws.

“I don’t treat this as a must-win game. But I am not stupid enough to not realise it is important as a manager to win games,” O’Neill said of the Maltese test.

“It is important to win games and we want to win against Malta. We recognise that over the last 10 to 15 games we haven’t won an awful lot.

“I have drawn four of the seven games I have been in charge, but we should have won three of those draws.

“So we need to get that winning mentality.”