Saturday 17 March 2018

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill plays down links to Rangers job

Michael O'Neill has been linked to the Rangers and Scotland jobs
Michael O'Neill has been linked to the Rangers and Scotland jobs Newsdesk Newsdesk

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill has played down talk of him becoming the next Rangers manager following the departure of Pedro Caixinha.

O'Neill is one of the names linked with taking the Ibrox hot-seat after Caixinha was sacked last week, bringing an end to a disastrous spell in Glasgow.

The Portuguese boss left Gers in fourth place in the Ladbrokes Premiership after an indifferent start to the season, but O'Neill, who lives in Edinburgh and has regularly been linked with jobs in Scotland, is adamant he is only focusing on helping Northern Ireland qualify for next year's World Cup.

"It's not a distraction for me at all," he told Sky Sports. "It's (speculation) constantly been there but it's not something that I pay much attention to.

"My attention is here and trying to get my country to a World Cup finals.

"What may or may not happen after that is in the laps of the football gods to be honest. It's always nice to be linked with jobs but it's not something I have given much thought to at all."

Meanwhile, Rangers have revealed a new scouting department that they hope will help them get back to the top of Scottish football.

Director of football Mark Allen has appointed Andy Scoulding as head of scouting, while John Brown, Dave Swanick and Billy McLaren have also joined the scouting team, which will change the club's recruitment process.

Allen told "In the modern game, as it stands now, I think you need a strategy for how you are going to recruit, where you are going to recruit and why you are going to recruit."

He added: ''You need strategy, intelligence and eyes. You need to know how to build databases, how to build dossiers on players and be looking at what they are doing on and off the pitch etc.

"The final and most critical part is you need the eyes to be able to go out and watch games live to confirm what the intelligence and video scouting is telling you.''

Online Editors

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