Jimmy Nicholl appointed Northern Ireland assistant manager

Jimmy Nicholl was part of Northern Ireland's World Cup squad at the 1982 and 1986 finals
Jimmy Nicholl was part of Northern Ireland's World Cup squad at the 1982 and 1986 finals

Jimmy Nicholl has been appointed as Northern Ireland assistant manager for the remainder of Michael O'Neill's side's Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.

Nicholl, 58, won 73 caps for Northern Ireland, scoring one goal, and played in the 1982 and 1986 World Cup Finals.

The former defender will also continue in his role as manager of Scottish Championship side Cowdenbeath.

Billy McKinlay vacated the role in September for what turned out to be a short-lived stint as Watford manager.

Following McKinlay's departure, manager O'Neill was assisted by the Irish FA's Elite Performance Director Jim Magilton and Northern Ireland Under-21 manager Stephen Robinson.

The pair fulfilled their roles for the Euro qualifying games against the Faroe Islands, Greece and Romania in October and November of last year.

Nicholl was twice in the running to become Northern Ireland manager, but was overlooked in favour of Bryan Hamilton in 1994 and lost out to Lawrie Sanchez in 2004.

Northern Ireland's remaining Euro 2016 Group F qualifiers
Finland (home)Sunday, 29 March 2015
Romania (home)Saturday, 13 June 2015
Faroe Islands (away)Friday, 4 September 2015
Hungary (home)Monday, 7 September 2015
Greece (home)Thursday, 8 October 2015
Finland (away)Sunday, 11 October 2015

His only international goal came in a 3-0 win over Sweden in a World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park in October, 1980.

Nicholl enjoyed a successful club career, playing in England, Scotland and Canada with clubs including Manchester United, West Bromwich Albion, Sunderland, Raith Rovers, Rangers, Dunfermline Athletic and Toronto Blizzard.

He began his managerial career in 1990 as a player-manager with Raith Rovers, where he had great success winning the Scottish League Cup and Scottish First Division in the 1994-1995 season. He is currently in his second stint as manager of Cowdenbeath.

"I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Jimmy on board. He has vast experience as a player and a coach and having been capped 73 times he knows what it means to play for Northern Ireland and what an honour it is," said Northern Ireland boss O'Neill.

"I have known Jimmy for over 25 years and I know that he will be a huge asset to my backroom team."

Nicholl said: "Having played in two World Cups for Northern Ireland nothing would thrill me more than to be part of the squad to qualify for another major tournament and I am delighted that Michael and the Irish FA have seen fit to place such trust in me. I can't wait to get started."

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