Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill 'free to hold talks with Scotland'

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill is free to hold talks over the Scotland job in the coming days, Press Association Sport understands.

Irish Football Association board members gathered for a scheduled meeting on Friday afternoon but a long-standing agreement with O'Neill means permission was a formality.

The Scottish Football Association approached its counterpart in Belfast on Wednesday after identifying O'Neill as the man it wants to succeed Gordon Strachan as Scotland manager.

However, the IFA is hopeful of retaining O'Neill's services and has prepared a counter-offer in a bid to fend off interest from across the water.

The SFA would be liable for compensation if it persuades O'Neill to swap jobs but, under the terms of the 48-year-old's contract, the body would not have to fork out as much as the likes of a Premier League club in England.

The former Brechin and Shamrock Rovers boss is under contract until June 2020 but the Scots made their move after he narrowly missed out on leading his country to the World Cup finals.

O'Neill signed his current deal in March 2016, before leading his men to the knockout stages of the European Championship in France.

The Edinburgh-based former Hibernian and Dundee United player is approaching his sixth anniversary in charge of Northern Ireland.


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