For those who like to indulge in noble games of chance, the odds on Steve Clarke becoming the next Scotland manager will have lengthened this weekend following his latest outburst against the SFA over their decision to punish Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes.
The 55-year-old Kilmarnock manager is one of a number of names being considered by the ruling body to replace Alex McLeish, who was dismissed last month.
Clarke, however, is not attempting to curry favour with the decision-makers on the sixth floor at Hampden.
Earlier this season, he received a suspended two-game touchline ban for his criticism of referee Willie Collum’s decision to show midfielder Gary Dicker a straight red card against Hearts in August and for subsequently claiming that the appeal hearing had been pre-ordained.
He returns to the national stadium on Thursday after being cited by the SFA’s compliance officer for describing referee Steve McLean’s performance in their recent home defeat by Aberdeen (during which three Killie players were dismissed) as “the worst I have ever seen” and demanding McLean should not take charge of any more of their matches.
McInnes had been sent to the stand by referee Craig Thomson after the former had gestured to Celtic supporters who had branded him “a sad Orange b******” during Aberdeen’s Betfred Cup final defeat last month. On Thursday, McInnes, who appealed the charges against him, saw them upheld at a disciplinary hearing and, consequently, will not be on the touchline for today’s home game against Celtic.
Clarke argues the decision is a triumph for the yobs who had targeted McInnes and who, as always, escaped unpunished.
“I can’t believe Derek got a ban,” said Clarke. “If ever there was a case for common sense and a simple reminder to Derek about his responsibilities then that was it.
“The people who sit on the committee who made that decision are wrong. The fact a manager has to stand on the sidelines and accept abuse – physical, verbal or sectarian – is not right. It isn’t correct.
“For him to get a one-game ban is not correct. It sends out completely the wrong message. It was a clear case for common sense and common sense hasn’t prevailed, which is a shame.”