Martin O'Neill has admitted that he would have to strongly consider his future as Ireland manager if their Euro 2016 campaign ended in limp fashion.
The Derryman was appointed on a two-year deal to bring his team to France but has stated that he would contemplate staying on if the level of performances was satisfactory in an unsuccessful qualification attempt.
Ireland are fourth in Group D heading into June’s key meeting with Scotland at the Aviva Stadium.
“If we went out with a whimper then I’d have to look at myself,” said O’Neill, speaking at the Ballsbridge venue this afternoon at the launch 2015 Sportsworld FAI Summer Schools.
“But if we go out and show what we are capable of doing, the drive and determination that we showed against Poland and in the rest of the campaign, then I would certainly look at it.
No discussions have taken place between O’Neill and the FAI on his future.
“Myself and John (Delaney) have a fairly lengthy period of time to do that. The job has been exactly what I expected,” he continued, “I get to see an awful lot of live football matches now, more than I’ve ever done as a club manager. I don’t think there’s a player in the Championship that I don’t know.
“I’ve spoken to Mick McCarthy and he was involved in less than 70 games for seven years as Ireland manager. He’s nearly done that this year with Ipswich alone if they get to the playoffs which hopefully they can do. It takes a bit of adjusting but it’s really absolutely fine and, of course, if we can qualify for France it’ll all be worthwhile.”
Meanwhile, O’Neill hopes that James McCarthy can build on his second half performance against Poland last month to silence his vocal doubters.
The Glaswegian came in for strong criticism from both Eamon Dunphy and Liam Brady and his commitment to the cause was questioned.
“People are entitled to their comments but I thought James got to grips with that game in the second half. In the first half he was tentative and, for the dominant midfield player that he can be in the Premier League, I wanted him to impose himself a ittle bit more and I thought he did that.
“Hopefully outside comments won’t stop him from wanting the shirt and wanting to do well,” said the Irish boss. “You have to remember that he made the decision in the first place to come and play for us. Sometimes it can take a wee bit of time. I’m hoping James will take great heart and go on and perform to the ability that we all think he possesses.”