Steve Clarke to be confirmed as Scotland manager next week

Steve Clarke is the Scottish Football Writers' Association's'manager of the year. Picture: Steve Welsh
Steve Clarke is the Scottish Football Writers' Association's'manager of the year. Picture: Steve Welsh
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Steve Clarke is likely to be unveiled as the new Scotland manager next week after the Scottish FA agreed compensation with Kilmarnock.

The Rugby Park boss is expected to sign a three-year contract and will take charge for the European Championship qualifying matches against Cyprus and Belgium next month.

Clarke, 55, has been Scottish football manager of the year for the last two seasons and is on course to guide Kilmarnock to their highest league position since 1966.

The former Chelsea and Scotland defender, who is thought to have agreed personal terms with the SFA, will name his squad for the Euro 2020 double header on 28 May.

He succeeds Alex McLeish who was sacked following the Scots’ dismal start to the qualifying campaign in which they lost 3-0 away to Kazakhstan before recording an unconvincing 2-0 win in San Marino.

Clarke, who is expected to move back to England when he is appointed, was chosen ahead of Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes and Scotland Under-21 coach Scot Gemmill.

McInnes has said he wants to remain in club management for now and backed Clarke to succeed in the Scotland job.

McInnes said: “I see myself as a club manager and I want to continue being a club manager. I do think you need to be a certain type to give up club management and go and take it on and of course, if anyone ever asked me in future if I wanted to be Scotland manager that’s something I would always consider and something I do see for myself in future.”

McInnes is convinced the impressive job Clarke has done over a sustained period at Kilmarnock, allied to previous experience coaching at a high level with Newcastle, Chelsea and Liverpool, make him the ideal choice.​

“I think he will be a very good manager,” added McInnes. “Anybody can have a good run over two or three months where you can get a bit of momentum going and confidence. But, over the course of the last 18 months, having to deal with transfer windows, injuries to players and managing the team you can see that there’s been good work done at Kilmarnock.​

“The team looks well coached and you can see the confidence the management team give their players and for me that’s more than enough.​

“That’s a sustained period that puts more than a bit of evidence that it is a good manager working.”​

Clarke and McInnes are on opposite sides in the chase for the last automatic Europa League place. Aberdeen need to better Kilmarnock’s result at home to Rangers when they travel to Hibs tomorrow.​ Failure would see the Dons finish in their lowest position since McInnes replaced Craig Brown six years ago.​

It has been claimed McInnes was keen to leave Aberdeen and might consider he has taken the Pittodrie club as far as possible, but he said: “I feel we can put together a squad that can get me that reward and I work for a very good person in Stewart Milne who has been more than a chairman to me. You don’t give up these type of relationships easily in life.”