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Published: Wed, November 16, 2016
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Michael O'Neill not interested in talk of Scotland switch

Michael O'Neill not interested in talk of Scotland switch

An outstanding performance from Duje Cop saw Croatia secure an easy 3-0 victory over Northern Ireland on Monday, ending the host's run of 11 internationals without a home defeat.

For O'Neill, the next few months will be all about preparing for the crucial next World Cup qualifier at home to Norway in March. He gave no long-term guarantees over his future in the build-up to this friendly and that was the topic being talked about at Windsor Park.

Many have pointed at his success with Northern Ireland as proof he could revive Scotland's fortunes.

Some pundits north of the border have touted O'Neill as the flawless fit for the Hampden hot-seat should Gordon Strachan's four-year tenure be ended following a hard start to their World Cup qualifying campaign.

Croatia looked the more likey to score again as Čačić bought on 19-year-old Liverpool target Ante Ćorić, but there was to be no more goals in a match that would have pleased Croatia's coach Ante Čačić. Lafferty has scored three in three for Ireland and is just 11/4 to score this week with bet365, while a goal for fellow striker Josh Magennis is 3/1. In the 35th minute, Kramaric whipped over a corner, no one was tight enough to Matej Mitrovic, who flicked the ball into the path of Cop to sweep home a volley from close range.

Their third goal, however, was a thing of beauty.

Kramaric received the ball in space and sent a sensational strike from distance beyond Mannus and into the top-right corner.

There was no mention of the Scotland speculation in his pre-match programme notes but that in itself said a lot, as he had the chance to calm the nerves of Northern Ireland fans but didn't.

The visitors were content to sit on their lead, inviting Northern Ireland to come on to them but despite having a fair amount of possession the men in green failed to trouble the keeper.

A dejected Oliver Norwood of Northern Ireland at Windsor Park.

Taking the nation to their first finals in three decades, and reaching the last 16 while in France, did not pique clubs' interest across the water, a fact that astounded members of the Northern Irish squad.

Others in the Northern Irish backroom team may find themselves the subject of Scottish interest too, with highly-regarded assistant Austin MacPhee linked to his country's technical director role.

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