Michael O’Neill has appointed his former Northern Ireland number two Billy McKinlay as his assistant manager at Stoke.

The former Scotland international and Fulham coach worked alongside O’Neill during his early years at Windsor Park before leaving to become Watford boss in 2014.

That job lasted just eight days before he was sacked and he subsequently worked as part of David Moyes’ backroom team at Real Sociedad. He also joined his fellow Scot at Sunderland and West Ham, also taking in a short stint in charge of Stabaek in Norway.

O’Neill told the Potters’ official website: “Billy and I have known each other since the early 1990s when we were team-mates and I’m delighted to welcome him to the staff at Stoke City.

“I’ve seen Billy work at both club and international level and I know that he’s an excellent coach who I believe is a great fit for us.”

O’Neill signed off his Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with Northern Ireland with a 6-1 defeat in Germany but is ready to lead his country in March’s play-offs. Until then he will focus his time and energy on reviving Stoke’s hopes of avoiding relegation from the Sky Bet Championship.