New contract for Brown confirmed

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Craig Brown and Guus Hiddink, the managers of England's Euro 96 group rivals, Scotland and the Netherlands, were yesterday given two-year extensions to their contracts.

Jim Farry, the Scottish Football Association's chief executive, said: "The international committee have invited Craig to continue his successful management role and he has accepted the challenge."

Brown will decide on his backroom team shortly, but he has already indicated that he wants Alex Miller, the Hibernian manager, to continue as his assistant. Miller will be with Brown over the next month at the European Championship finals.

Brown has already started planning for the 1998 World Cup finals in France, and he sent a member of his backroom staff to watch Sweden as they beat Belarus 5-1. The SFA has set aside a pounds 350,000 bonus to be split among their players if they qualify for France.

Asked why the offer had come before the finals, Yule Craig, Scotland's international committee chairman, said: "We make our decision on the competitive matches which have taken place and Craig's record to date, and we are very happy with that."

Brown and his squad flew back to Britain after losing to the United States and Colombia in America. The squad will reassemble on Thursday before beginning their preparations to face the Dutch. Brown and Miller will make a flying visit to Rotterdam today to watch the Netherlands in action against the Republic of Ireland.

Hiddink will manage the Dutch side until after the 1998 World Cup. His contract was due to expire after Euro 96, which the Dutch are 5-1 second favourites to win.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND (Friendly v The Netherlands, Rotterdam, tonight): Given (Blackburn); Breen (Birmingham), Kernaghan (Manchester City), Harte (Leeds), Kenna (Blackburn), Phelan (Chelsea), McLoughlin (Portsmouth), O'Brien (Tranmere), Moore (Middlesbrough), Cascarino (Marseille), Connolly (Watford).