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.
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.
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.