Kilmarnock goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald believes Steve Clarke would be an ideal choice as Scotland manager but is desperately hoping the SFA look elsewhere in their search for Gordon Strachan’s successor, writes Stephen Halliday.
Clarke continued his impressive work as Kilmarnock boss with Saturday’s 1-0 win over champions Celtic at Rugby Park and is now priced as short as 12-1 with some bookmakers for the Scotland vacancy.
“If it happens, he has got the credentials for the job,” observed MacDonald. “It’s been a long time since Scotland have been to an international tournament and that’s something I hope is addressed in the coming years. But for purely selfish reasons, hopefully he stays at Kilmarnock in the long run.
“He’s a quality manager. He’s worked at the highest level as a coach and as a manager at the top level of English football.
“He always seems to do well. At West Brom, he took them to their highest ever finish in the Premier League. At Reading, he got them to the semi-final of the FA Cup. He’s maybe been unfortunate to lose those jobs for whatever reason.
“But we’re very grateful he’s at Kilmarnock. Long may that continue. Everybody always asks what is the one biggest thing he has brought to Kilmarnock and I don’t think anyone can ever give a proper answer.
“He just makes everything so simple in terms of players knowing what they are doing. Football isn’t a difficult game as such. It’s us players that seem to make it more difficult.
“He just makes everything so simple. He doesn’t overdo it. It’s not like you are out on the training ground for three hours. Football players only take in little bits at a time. Just enough to get in there each day.”
Celtic and Scotland winger James Forrest has welcomed Clarke’s potential candidacy for the international team who are back in action next month with friendly fixtures against Costa Rica and Hungary.
“Everybody knows who he is after the jobs he did in England,” said Forrest. “He’s come up here and done really well with Kilmarnock. There are a few names in the frame for the Scotland job so we’ll just take it from there.
“We don’t play until March so we’ve maybe got a bit of time. But once they get somebody in it’ll be good for everyone.”