Michael O'Neill rejects Scotland to stay with Northern Ireland - and here's why

Michael O'Neill
Michael O'Neill

Michael O'Neill is to continue as Northern Ireland manager, turning down the opportunity to take over Scotland.

The 48-year-old was believed to be close to taking over as Scotland boss following talks last week with the Scottish Football Association.

The SFA had agreed to meet a £500,000 compensation payment to the Irish FA in order to secure the services of O'Neill, who had described talks between the parties as "productive".

However, after a period of deliberation, O'Neill, who lives in Edinburgh, has decided against taking the post to succeed Gordon Strachan, and will instead remain in charge of Northern Ireland following their failed World Cup qualification campaign.

In a statement, O'Neill said: "Having given the matter a great deal of thought and consideration, I have decided not to take up the opportunity to become the next Scotland National team manager."

"It's a huge honour to be offered the position however I do not feel that this is the right opportunity for me at this moment in my career.

"I would like to place on record my gratitude to the SFA for the very professional manner in which they conducted negotiations and I would also like to wish them every success for the future."

The former Dundee United and Hibernian midfielder has two years left to run on his current deal with the IFA, but has already been offered an extended contract until 2020.

More to follow.