O’Neill exit would be a major blow for IFA chiefs

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December 29, 2017

O’Neill exit would be a major blow for IFA chiefs

Former Northern Ireland international Neil Lennon believes if Michael O’Neill takes the Scotland job it will leave “a huge hole for the Irish FA” and represent a “body blow” to the country.

O’Neill is considering his future as Northern Ireland boss following talks with the Scottish Football Association on Thursday but the Irish FA remain confident he will remain in his position, with a decision expected in the next few days.

A £500,000 compensation fee was agreed with the IFA, allowing the Scots to open talks with the 48-year-old, but a bumper offer of a six-year contract taking him through to 2024 and worth over £4m looks like being enough to convince O’Neill to stay put.

Hibernian boss Lennon admitted it would be a bittersweet feeling if O’Neill took the Scotland job.

“He’s done an amazing job with Northern Ireland and would leave a huge hole for the IFA, so from my point of view it’s a body blow, if he goes,” said Lennon.

“But from Scotland’s point of view they would be getting a guy who knows the international scene very well. He’s very smart, tactically astute and very familiar with the Scottish game and he lives in Edinburgh.

“I think it would be a very good appointment if it comes to fruition.”

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