‘Calling me a Fenian b*****d? Come on’ - Steve Clarke blasts anti-Catholic abuse at Rangers v Kilmarnock clash

Steve Clarke issued a scathing denunciation of “dark ages west of Scotland” sectarianism after the Kilmarnock manager had chants of “sad Fenian bastard” directed at him towards the end of his team’s 5-0 Scottish Cup fifth round replay defeat by Rangers at Ibrox last night.

Kilmarnock manager Steve Clarke at Ibrox. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS
Kilmarnock manager Steve Clarke at Ibrox. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS

Initially rounding on officials for their failure to award his team a second-minute penalty before a bizarre 26th-minute red card was shown to Killie goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann on an evening when Alfredo Morelos scored four, Clarke then boiled over when asked about the abuse meted out to him by the home support.

He was at once scathing, seething and sneering about the anti-Catholic abuse that he had suffered and the attitudes which still prevail in a home country he left in his early 20s when he moved as a player from St Mirren to Chelsea.

“It’s nice being back in the west of Scotland – really nice,” he said sarcastically, before revealing he had been sounded out about becoming Rangers manager followed the sacking of Pedro Caixinha in October 2017.

“When I was approached by Rangers about taking over the job here I was assured, ‘nah, we didn’t have that in the west of Scotland anymore and it had gone’. Hahaha,” Clarke said. 
“They can call me a bastard or wanker but to call me a Fenian bastard? Come on. We’re living in the dark ages. They’re not allowed to call my assistant [Alex Dyer] a black B but they can call me a Fenian bastard. 
“Is that correct? What are we doing in Scotland?

“I wake up every morning and I thank Chelsea for taking me away from the west. My children have nothing to do this with this, thankfully. My children and grandchildren. It’s fantastic to be back in Scotland.”

Earlier in his conference, Clarke had laid waste to the performances of referee Alan Muir and his assistant Drew Kirkland, the former rejecting penalty calls when Eamonn Brophy was grabbed back by Joe Worrall in the second minute. The referee then showed a straight red to Bachmann after he inadvertently caught Glen Kamara as he thrust his arms upwards in preparation for a corner.

“Story of the match,” Clarke said. “If the penalty had been given in the first two minutes it would have been different. The red card is a joke. It’s a joke. 
“If that’s the standards we might as well go home. It’s every week, every other week.

“You’ll probably write Morelos four goals but the officials decided the game. It’s embarrassing. The goalie just lifted his arms. Every goalie does it every week. 
“It’s embarrassing. I’m talking in general. Bad decisions. All we talk about is our refs.

“How can I talk about football tonight? It doesn’t matter when it comes - a penalty is a penalty. Thirty seconds in or thirty seconds into injury time - it’s a pen so just give it.”