Rangers forward Kyle Lafferty
Lafferty, who joined Rangers from Heart of Midlothian in the summer transfer window for a fee reported by The Glasgow Evening Times to be worth £500,000, pulled out of Northern Ireland’s matches against Austria and Bosnia and Herzegovina this month.
The 31-year-old Rangers forward pulled out citing an Achilles problem at midnight on Sunday, and while O’Neill has suggested that the former Norwich City forward still has a future in his squad, he has made it clear that Lafferty is not more important than any of the other players he has at his disposal.
O’Neill told The Daily Mail about Lafferty: “I was unhappy to be telephoned 12 o'clock at night, when I was expecting the player to turn up on Monday. But he's no more important than any of the other 23 players we have here.
“There's no guarantee that Kyle was going to come and play, that's the reality of the situation. We've got other strikers available to play.
“I haven't thought about what happens next. It's certainly not my intention to have a chat with him before the game. Since the conversation, my focus has really been preparing the team.
“We won't play another international until November so there's plenty of time to have that discussion.”
Lafferty made his debut for Northern Ireland back in 2006, and the Rangers forward has scored 20 goals in 68 matches for his country so far.
The former Burnley forward, whose first spell at Rangers was from 2008 until 2012, has scored four goals in eight Scottish Premiership appearances for Steven Gerrard’s Gers so far this campaign, according to Transfermarkt.com.