Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill charged with drink-driving

Northern Ireland’s football manager Michael O’Neill has been charged with drink-driving.

Michael O’Neill was stopped in Edinburgh in the early hours of Sunday.

The Irish Football Association has confirmed it is aware of the allegation against Mr O’Neill, but declined to comment further.

“As it is a police matter, the Association will be making no further comment,” it said in a statement.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Police in Edinburgh arrested and charged a 48-year-old man in connection with drink driving eastbound on the A720 around 12.55am on Sunday September 10.

“He is due to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on October 10.”

O’Neill, who lives in Edinburgh, will lead Northern Ireland against Norway in Oslo in their final World Cup qualifier two days before that court date.

Northern Ireland’s current boss assumed the post five years ago and has turned around the country’s fortunes, leading them to the knock-out stages of Euro 2016 in their first major tournament in 30 years.

World Cup qualification victories over San Marino and Czech Republic earlier this month extended the nation’s record-winning streak to five successive victories, and they look set to clinch one of the play-off berths to give themselves a chance to reach their fourth World Cup finals next summer.

When the FIFA rankings are released later this week, Northern Ireland are projected to be in the top 20 for the first time in their history having sunk as low as 129th three games into O’Neill’s reign.

O’Neill, who has previously managed Brechin City and Shamrock Rovers, signed a new deal with the IFA last year and is under contract until 2020.

Northern Ireland reached the last 16 of their first ever European Championship last year and are now in with a good chance of qualifying for the next World Cup.