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SFA's move for O'Neill 'no surprise' to Motherwell boss

Stephen Robinson says reports linking him with the Northern Ireland post are a 'huge honour'.

Stephen Robinson says the Scottish FA's move to approach Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill comes as no surprise.

The Motherwell boss has also described reports linking him with his compatriot's current post as a huge honour.

Scottish football's governing body requested permission from the IFA to speak to O'Neill on Wednesday, days after Northern Ireland fell at the World Cup qualification play-off stage to Switzerland.

Robinson understands why Scotland have made a bid to lure his compatriot across the water to Hampden.

He has lauded O'Neill's "incredible achievement" in turning a small pool mainly consisting of lower-league journeymen into international qualification contenders.

"It's no surprise whatsoever," said Robinson. "Looking at what Michael (O'Neill) has done with our pool of players, he's got about 35 or 36 players to choose from, four or five of whom are Premier League and the rest are made up from our league, the English lower leagues and so on.

"With those players, the achievement is incredible, so if you are sitting on an international board he would be at the forefront of your mind most definitely."

He added: "What Scotland have is a bigger pool of players. They have a professional league, massive support and massive media attention. Scotland have improved, there is obviously a lot of potential there."

It's a massive honour for me, to manage your country or even be linked with something like that is huge.
Stephen Robinson on links to replacing Michael O'Neill as Northern Ireland manager

With Motherwell fifth in the Scottish Premiership and preparing for a League Cup final with Celtic, Robinson has been mentioned among potential candidates to replace O'Neill in the Northern Ireland hot seat should he vacate the role.

He refused to rule out his interest in the post, saying managing your country is the pinnacle of a manager's career.

"To be honest with you it's a massive honour for me, to manage your country or even be linked with something like that is huge," he said.

"I take great pride in being Northern Irish and being a part of the setup was massive for me.

"As it stands I'm the manager of Motherwell and very much enjoying it and Michael is still the manager of Northern Ireland, we shouldn't forget that as well."

He added: "Everyone has that ambition, it's a high point of your career to manage your country.

"Whether it's this time or further down the line for me, that remains to be seen, but I am really happy at Motherwell right now."

Fir Park defender Richard Tait can understand why his manager is in demand after the Steelmen's impressive start to the campaign.

"He has been brilliant," he said. "We started afresh in the summer, brought in a few boys, and he has definitely helped us play the way we want to play. He's taught us that formation.

"I definitely think I'm a better player at wing-back than I would have been without Stephen Robinson.

"Obviously if the time came when Northern Ireland came calling it would be a credit to himself for getting himself in that position. I think that is how highly he is thought of."

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