Scotland boss Steve Clarke set for contract talks amid Celtic speculation

The Scottish Football Association will sit down with Steve Clarke to discuss a new deal whatever happens at the forthcoming European Championships.

Scotland manager Steve Clarke takes a training session at La Finca Resort ahead of Wednesday's friendly against Holland (Photo by Jose Breton / SNS Group)

Chief executive Ian Maxwell has confirmed that talks will be held amid renewed speculation linking Clarke with the vacant Celtic post following the breakdown in talks with Eddie Howe.

The Parkhead club are reported to have switched their attention to former Australia and current Yokohama F. Marinos manager Ange Postecoglou. Clarke’s name has also featured again in connection with the still vacant post.

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His current deal expires after the World Cup in Qatar next year with Scotland currently sitting second in their qualifying group after three games.

“He's contracted until the end of the World Cup finals, which are in December '22,” confirmed Maxwell. “But absolutely we'll be talking about that (a new deal). We want to keep him. We are absolutely delighted with the job he has done.

"We'll see how far we get in the Euros and we want to qualify for the World Cup in 2022 and hopefully he's the Scotland manager for a long time to come and we keep qualifying for tournaments."

Maxwell is confident Clarke will lead Scotland through the World Cup qualifying campaign even if there is interest from elsewhere.

The chief executive believes the 57-year-old will take the Scots into the knockout stage of a major finals for the first time this summer. But this would represent a double-edged sword since such an achievement is bound to mean others will covet his services.

“If people are talking about that I'm delighted because when was the last time people were talking about a Scotland manager moving on in a positive sense?” Maxwell pointed out.

"He's done fantastically well," he said. "We wanted to qualify and that's what he's done. I'm totally sure he will lead us on to Qatar and hopefully he does that off the back of getting out the group, making the last 16 or the last eight - hopefully we get as far as we possibly can and enjoy it.”

Maxwell reflected on Clarke’s success as manager since being appointed just over two years ago. His record since then is: played 19, won eight and drawn five – two of those draws resulted in penalty shootout victories, including the one over Serbia that took Scotland to Euro 2020.

“I remember saying at the time that we wanted a manager who could make a Pot 4 team a Pot 2 team,” said Maxwell. “That's what he did.

"He showed at Kilmarnock, where they finished third, that he could go to big stadiums like Celtic Park and Ibrox and get results.

"That's what he had to do for us. Give them a shape, a belief and a desire that we could get results against the better teams.

"The positivity going into the Serbia game showed that he'd done that. If you'd said to people before he was appointed that we were going to have beat Serbia away to get to the Euros, everybody would have been saying: 'what's the point? We're not going to do that?'

"But we went into that game with everybody confident we were going to get something out of it.

"He's been a terrific appointment. We are really looking forward to the finals."

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