GLASGOW: Michael O’Neill has rejected the opportunity to replace Gordon Strachan as Scotland manager.

The 48-year-old former Brechin City and Shamrock Rovers boss said he had “given the matter a great deal of thought and consideration”.

He added: “It’s a huge honour to be offered the position however I do not feel that this is the right opportunity for me at this moment in my career,” he said.

“I would like to place on record my gratitude to the SFA for the very professional manner in which they conducted negotiations and I would also like to wish them every success for the future.”

Having led Northern Ireland to the Euro 2016 last 16 and the World Cup play-offs, O’Neill has been offered an extended contract by the Irish Football Association. He is contracted until 2020 and the proposed new deal would run until 2024.

Strachan had a near five-year spell in charge of Scotland but could not lead to their first major finals since the France 1998 World Cup. Craig Brown was in charge of that campaign and Berti Vogts, Walter Smith, Alex McLeish, George Burley and Craig Levein held the post before Strachan.

SFA performance director Malky Mackay took charge of Scotland’s senior team for the November friendly defeat by Netherlands and Scotland’s next game will be home to Costa Rica on MArch 23.

Further friendlies follow against Hungary in Budapest (27 March), Peru in Lima (29 May) and an unconfirmed side preparing for this year’s World Cup in Mexico City (2 June).