Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill signs four-year contract extension
Last Updated: 09/02/18 6:17pm
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill has signed a four-year contract extension until 2024.
O'Neill has been in talks with the Irish Football Association over a new contract since Northern Ireland's failed bid to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
O'Neill was given permission to speak the Scottish FA over the possibility of succeeding Gordon Strachan at Hampden Park, but the 48-year-old turned down the opportunity.
"The IFA came to me very quickly after the disappointment of defeat by Switzerland in the World Cup play-off and indicated that they would like to extend my contract," O'Neill told Sky Sports News.
"They anticipated that there would be interest, which there was. From the period from November to now, talks have been ongoing and they were very positive.
"I just felt as though it was the right thing to do. I've achieved a lot with Northern Ireland in the last six years but I still feel as though there is work to be done and I look forward to that challenge."
O'Neill is now set to lead Northern Ireland in the next two European Championship qualification campaigns as well as their quest to reach the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The former Northern Ireland international is looking forward to the challenge and admits it was "gut instinct" which stopped him from taking on a role with Scotland.
"Having been in the job six years it was important that, if I was going to continue, I had to know 100 per cent it was the right thing to do. You never know that until you have the other discussions," said O'Neill.
"The Scotland job was very attractive. I was very flattered by Scottish interest. I live in Scotland and I've played a good part of my career in Scotland, so Scottish football is very close to me.
"I just felt at this time it just didn't feel right. I just didn't have the right gut instinct that it was the next move for me.
"If I'm going to leave Northern Ireland I think realistically it's more likely to be for a club job, than for another association."
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