'One hell of a challenge' - McIlroy warns 48-year-old manager over Rangers
By James Black
Northern Ireland legend Sammy McIlroy has warned Michael O’Neill he faces “one hell of a challenge” if he becomes the next Rangers manager.
O’Neill is joint-third favourite to take over from Pedro Caixinha, according to SkyBet, and McIlroy believes the 48-year-old has the temperament to handle taking charge of the Ibrox giants.
The Northern Ireland manager’s future remains uncertain with Scotland and United States among some of the international sides reported to be interested in making him their boss if he decides to leave Windsor Park.
O’Neill failed to guide Northern Ireland to the World Cup in Russia next summer after being cruelly knocked out in the play-offs by an incredibly soft penalty against Switzerland.
The 48-year-old did however take the the side to last year’s European Championship in France before being eliminated by Wales in the second round.
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McIlroy thinks fans will have to be patient with whoever takes charge but believes O’Neill can handle the pressure of restoring Rangers to the top of Scottish football.
“Michael would know he has one hell of a challenge to try and turn Rangers around,” McIlroy said, as quoted by The Herald.
“The club and the supporters are going to have to be patient whoever is going to be the next manager.
He added: “In terms of his organisation, his commitment to the job, his temperament, he could handle it. No problem.”
Aberdeen’s Derek McInnes is the bookies’ favourite to replace Caixinha after the Portuguese was sacked only seven months into a three-year contract.
Under-20’s manager Graeme Murty has been put in interim charge for the second time in 2017 and has led the side to two wins from two since taking over from Caixinha last month.
The Light Blues return to action on Saturday when they face Hamilton in the Scottish Premiership at Ibrox.
The Gers currently sit fourth in the table and trail leaders Celtic by six points.
In other Rangers team news, Fabio Cardoso has returned to training after suffering a nose injury