Could Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill save Lee Hodson's Rangers career?

Rangers fans pour out of the stand onto the pitch as Alfredo Morelos of Rangers celebrates scoring the opening goal of the game with his team mates during the Ladbrokes Scottish...

Lee Hodson is crying out for a fresh start at Ibrox - and he could get it if his Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill takes over at Rangers.

Michael O'Neill, Manager of Northern Ireland looks dejected following the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Play-Off: Second Leg between Switzerland and Northern Ireland at St. Jakob-Park on...

Michael O’Neill was understandably in no mood to discuss his future as Northern Ireland manager after they were a Ricardo Rodriguez goal-line clearance away from a last-minute equaliser in their World Cup play-off defeat to Switzerland on Sunday evening.

The AC Milan defender’s dramatic stoppage-time clearance from a Jonny Evans header means Northern Ireland’s long wait for an invitation to the festival of football goes on.

Scottish giants Rangers, however, could see O’Neill’s disappointment as a major opportunity. The Daily Record reported last month that the 48-year-old was a candidate to replace Pedro Caixinha at Ibrox.

Northern Ireland's manager Michael O'Neill watches on the touchline during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualification football match between Northern Ireland and Germany at the National...

And there may be one player in particular who would be glad to see O’Neill being handed his first high-profile job in club football.

Lee Hodson has struggled for opportunities at Rangers since moving from MK Dons in the summer of 2016. The 26-year-old was back-up to the more attacking James Tavernier last season and his bit-part role has continued into 2017/18 with just one league start to his name so far.

The former Watford man, however, has been a regular member of O’Neill’s squad at international level, winning 19 of his 20 caps since the inspirational manager took over in 2011.

Lee Hodson of Rangers and Patrick Roberts of Celtic battle for possession during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Rangers and Celtic at Ibrox Stadium on September 23, 2017...

And while he did not feature during the recent double header against Switzerland, Conor McLaughlin and Aaron Hughes starting a leg apiece, Hodson is clearly a player liked and respected by O’Neill – a manager who is typically loyal to his players.

The seldom-seen right-back, then, would surely be more than happy to see a manager who knows and trusts him get the job at Ibrox.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch