International boss responds to Aberdeen manager link as Celtic turn down approach for forgotten man

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Aberdeen are searching for a long-term manager to replace Neil Warnock after his departure

Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill has distanced himself from speculation linking him with the Aberdeen vacancy.

The former midfielder had a brief spell on loan with the Dons in 1998, but was limited to just six first team appearances. The 54-year-old was initially viewed as one of the frontrunners to take on the post at Pittodrie after Neil Warnock’s brief 33 day stint in the dugout came to an abrupt end.

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O’Neill has had two spells in the Northern Ireland hotseat and is best known for leading the nation to the European Championships for the first time back in 2016.  He lasted just under three years at Stoke City before returning to the Northern Ireland role in 2022. O’Neill signed a five year contract at the time and remains committed to the task ahead of him.

O’Neill told the Press and Journal: “I signed a five and a half year contract, so I’m fully focused on what I’m doing here with Northern Ireland. That’s a story that has been in the Scottish media.

“I’m not in control of anything like that. My focus is always here. I was at a game two weeks ago between Aberdeen and St Mirren watching Caolan Boyd-Munce and Conor McMenamin, who both played very well. I’m not in control of what people speculate or what people write and it’s not something I give a lot of attention to.”

Forgotten Celtic man faces uncertain future at Parkhead

Celtic have turned down an approach from Kashima Antlers for out of favour defender Yuki Kobayashi.

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The Daily Record understands that the J League outfit along with Finnish side HJK and MLS sides Dallas and Red Salt Lake were all interested in the defender, but Celtic are keen to keep him at the club for the time being.

The news comes as a surprise given the player’s lack of first team action since moving to Glasgow in January 2023. So far, Kobayashi has made just five appearances for the Hoops, and all of those came at the end of last season under previous manager Ange Postecoglou.

The five-time Japan U20 international rarely features in Celtic’s matchday squad at present and is yet to make an appearance this term.

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