Irish FA give manager Michael O'Neill permission to speak to Scotland

17 November 2017, 21:04

Irish FA chiefs have given Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill permission to speak to Scotland, according to Sky sources.

Both parties were present at a board meeting on Friday in which the 48-year-old's future was top of the agenda after they failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The Irish FA are keen to keep O'Neill, who took Northern Ireland to the European Championships in 2016, and will offer him improved terms on his contract, which currently runs until 2020.

But O'Neill has been of interest to a number of other national associations and British clubs, and it is understood he will take time to assess all his options before making a decision.

Sky Sports News reported on Thursday that O'Neill was not interested in the Sunderland job, however, which now appears to have been given to Chris Coleman after he resigned from his position as Wales manager on Friday.

The Scottish FA, who have been searching for a permanent successor to Gordon Strachan after they also failed to make the World Cup finals, made an approach for O'Neill earlier this week.

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright is understood to be a favourite with the IFA to take over, should close friend O'Neill leave his role.

Wright worked under O'Neill as a goalkeeping coach before taking over at McDiarmid Park and said on Thursday managing his country would be like reaching the pinnacle.

He said: "Anything linking me to the job is purely speculation because the Northern Ireland job isn't available right now. And it is speculation about a job my best friend is in.

"It would be a natural progression for any manager with ambitions to see your own national team job as the most important one of them all."

O'Neill took over as Northern Ireland boss in 2011 and steadily improved the side, sealing qualification to a first ever European Championship finals in France with victory over Greece in qualifying in 2015.