STEWART Regan has accepted full responsibility for the failure to secure Michael O’Neill as the new Scotland manager – but vowed the SFA would not be rushed into making an appointment despite the mounting pressure on him to resign as chief executive.

Regan, who only sat down for talks with Northern Ireland manager O’Neill last week over two months after an official approach was made to the IFA, also defended the length of time it had taken to put together a compensation package.

The Yorkshireman has faced calls to stand down from irate members of the Tartan Army after O’Neill, who has led his country to the Euro 2016 finals and a Russia 2018 play-off spot, announced on Monday he would not be accepting the position.

“As chief exec I take full responsibility for what has happened and for people’s frustrations, but I feel there are genuine reasons why we find ourselves where we are,” said Regan after the UEFA Nations League draw in Lausanne, Switzerland.

“This is a very unusual situation, it’s complex because the guy was in a job, is in a job, and there were various stages to go through. It was complicated further by the financial cost attached with the appointment.”

O’Neill was singled out as the preferred candidate to succeed Gordon Strachan by an SFA sub-committee back in the middle of November - but they only agreed to pay the IFA the compensation they were demanding earlier this month.

The savings the governing body made on the salaries of the Scotland manager and his assistant Mark McGhee in the last two months are believed to have been put towards the £500,000 which they required.

However, Regan dismissed that suggestion the length of time it took to reach agreement had been responsible for O’Neill’s decision.

“We spoke to his agent regularly from November throughout,” he said. “The agent fully understood our position, that before we could speak with Michael we had to be able to agree a compensation figure.

“It took time for us to be able to agree that because of the numbers involved. We worked out a structure to allow us to do that and when we did we approached Michael.

“In the meantime, Michael could have taken another job. But the fact that he didn’t, the fact that he was still available, the fact that the feedback we were getting was that he still wanted to speak to us, gave us a degree of assurance.

“We didn’t have a competitive match until September and in our opinion there was no burning platform to actually get this done and dusted quickly.”

Speaking after Scotland were drawn to play Albania and Israel in the inaugural Nations League, Regan admitted the SFA may not have a new manager in place for the friendlies against Costa Rica and Hungary in March.

He said: “There is a tendency in certain situations where you have kind of an onslaught that we have had to react and say ‘we’ve got to do something, let’s appoint somebody’.

“That’s not what we are going to. We are going to take our time and reflect on what’s happened over the last few days and decide who are the people we are going to see and who is the best person for the job?

“If that takes a while, if it takes us past the March friendlies, so be it. But we need to make sure we get the right person.

“We want someone who we genuinely believe can lead us to a major finals. That’s why it’s important to take time. That’s why it’s important to get the right person. We absolutely can’t panic and won’t panic. We will take our time and get the right person.”