Date: 5th October 2010 at 8:22am
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Shamrock Rovers chairman Jonathan Roache has warned Hibs he’ll fight tooth and nail to hang on to Michael O’Neill after the Irishman became an early favourite to replace John Hughes.

O’Neill has firmly established himself as a fans favourite with the Dubliners and looks set to end their 16 year wait for a domestic league title after an impressive season.

Roache however is looking to extend his manager’s stay in the Irish capital and tole The Irish Independent ‘It’s understandable Michael’s going to be linked with other jobs because he has done brilliantly for Shamrock.

‘But we wouldn’t appreciate interest from anyone.

‘We are close to winning the league for the first time in 16 years and this is an unwelcome distraction.

‘Michael has a year left of his contract and a few weeks ago we started talking to him about extending that.

‘I regard him as the best young manager in Ireland and as good a prospect as there would be in Scotland and England.

Meanwhile the legendary Italian Nevio Scala has declared a strong interest in becoming the new Hibees gaffer and urged Rod Petrie to give him a call.

Speaking to The Scotsman he said ‘Yes, I’m certainly interested. Many of my friends from Italian football, like Giovanni Trapattoni and Fabio Capello are now working in the British isles.

‘I have always loved Scotland and Edinburgh is a very beautiful city. I am ready to go there.

‘In Italy, we do not see too much Scottish football, but I know the club have a history of producing some very good young players.

‘I read recently that Scott Brown, who started with Hibernian, was even linked with Juventus in Serie A.

‘The greatest successes in my career have come when I’ve been working with young players. At Parma, I took a team of kids and won promotion

‘I brought through Fabio Cannavaro and Gigi Buffon as young men at Parma. And I helped develop Gianfranco Zola, Thomas Brolin and Filippo Inzaghi.

‘I have a great respect for Scottish football and I speak the language. Believe me, I know a lot about the country. I also had Paul Lambert with me in Dortmund and we spoke a lot about it.

‘I’ve been out of football for the past couple of years, I’ve had a nice holiday, now I am ready to work. The Hibernian chairman can call me – I will be ready to talk.’