McClean, 23, who came on as a substitute after 70 minutes, received the boos due to his request to wear a shirt without a poppy for last week's match against Everton.
The winger is from the Creggan estate in Derry where six people were shot by British military during Bloody Sunday in 1972.
"James will deal with it," O'Neill said of the boos. "I think it is probably to do with the issue of last week. It's a free choice in this world. James has lived with a lot of things. He's getting death threats as well now so that doesn't help."
It is understood O'Neill was referring to the incident in which 29-year-old Mancunian Codey Lachey posted images of 5.6mm bullets on McClean's Twitter timeline, while saying he "wanted him dead". On Sunday, however, Lachey - who described himself on the social network as a "6ft 3 ex-army lad" - said he no longer felt that way, in the face of a possible police investigation.
The former soldier was quoted in Sunday's Derry Journal as saying "I wanted him dead. But there's no threat from me to James McClean now, although I can't be held responsible for what other people may do."
Lachey had also sent a threat against McClean to Sinn Fein newspaper An Phoblacht.
"Too right he deserves to be shot dead," Lachey wrote, "+ body dragged past the cenotaph! I think he's a f***ing disgrace. I know I'll end up in trouble and maybe in prison over this but I'm willing to go to court, that's how strongly I feel."
Elsewhere, McClean has also been criticised by Northern Ireland international Warren Feeney, due to his decision to represent the Republic of Ireland rather than the country of his birth.
Feeney, 31, wrote in Belfast's Sunday Life that such 'cringeworthy' incidents as the poppy made him glad McClean was not an international team-mate.
to not do so beggars belief
Freedom of speech isnt the same there as here
The same should go for McClean, who should have found a less explosive time to display a political message.
quote:wow you think a simple cost/benefit analysis could help this idiot out? Try and think through the financial implications to taking this decision...I think if I was this a-hole's agent I would drop the dumb cunt as a client. Seriously you might as well burn an American flag at a VFW hall... Some crackpot threatening this guy may be the least of his problems...
But there's absolutely nothing wrong with it.
Try and think through the financial implications to taking this decision...I think if I was this a-hole's agent I would drop the dumb cunt as a client.
Seriously you might as well burn an American flag at a VFW hall
So pissing off many of his own supporters has no long term ramifications? Perhaps I am not making myself clear, this is a self-damaging career move.
Regardless of Britain's crap reputation as a colonial power pissing off your own fanbase is not good for your own bottom line
I'm sure plenty of Irishmen died in the first World War.
I did read about some that fought in World War II for the British.