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O’Neill dismisses rumours linking him with Rangers as ‘speculation’



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Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill has dismissed all the speculation linking him with the vacant Rangers job by insisting that his primary focus lies on qualifying for the World Cup.

Rangers sacked Pedro Caixinha last week after a disappointing run of form that has left the Light Blues at fourth on the Scottish Premiership table. O’Neill, who lives in Edinburgh, has previously been linked with clubs in Scotland which prompted many to speculate that Caixinha’s sacking could perhaps pave the way for O’Neill to land a top job in the Premiership.

“It’s not a distraction for me at all,’ he said. “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.”

Rangers have undergone a major reshuffle in their scouting department following Caixinha’s departure. Andy Scoulding has been appointed as the head of scouting while John Brown, Dave Swanick and Billy McLaren have also been added to the team. Director of Football Mark Allen hopes that the new changes would mark a positive change in recruitment policy that would subsequently help the club reach its former heights.

“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,” said Allen.

“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.”

Rangers are currently under the watch of caretaker manager Graeme Murty.