Kilmarnock boss Steve Clarke says referee’s performance ‘worst in my career’

Steve Clarke said Steven McLean produced “the worst refereeing performance of my career… and its been a long one” after his Kilmarnock side were reduced to eight men in their 1-0 defeat at home to Kilmarnock.

Kilmarnock manager Steve Clarke applauds the support at full-time. Pic: SNS/Gary Hutchison

And the Rugby Park manager said the official should be spared Kilmarnock games in the future after inferring the referee was guilty of overcompensating as his father Stuart had played over 400 games for the club, where he is a hall of famer.

Clarke, right, made a beeline for McLean at the end of an explosive afternoon which saw Kirk Broadfoot and Rory McKenzie shown straight reds, and Stuart Findlay dismissed for two bookable offences. He was corruscating in relating his exchange with the official in a calmly delivered knifing that will see him before the SFA whether or not they choose to make good on his favourite status as the potential next Scotland manager.

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“I congratulated him and told him it was the worst refereeing performance in my career… and I’ve had a long career,” said Clarke, in his 37th year in senior football. “He lost control of a professional football match.

“I mentioned Steven after the Hearts game [we lost 2-1 her in February] and he didn’t control that game properly either. The job is to control the game but he lost control of it. I feel a bit sorry for him.

“People say historically going back he’s never been kind to Kilmarnock. His father played so many games here - if you’re a referee and you feel that pressure it can affect your performance.

“I’ve mentioned it a couple of times privately but publicly now I think it would be better for him and Kilmarnock if he doesn’t referee any games for us. There are loads of refs who can come here. Through the club I’ve made this request before. I try not to speak John [Fleming, head of referees] too much - he’s got enough on his plate without me phoning him.

“How could it work? I don’t know. There’s a big family connection. Stuart was a top right-back – not as good as me – who I remember watching. He played a lot of games for the club and I feel that’s a big enough connection – and it would be better for Steven. He’s made some decisions for us but by and large since I’ve been here I’ve not been particularly sure about his performance.

“Take it out the equation, he doesn’t have to worry about that as well as get the decisions right. A good referee could handle difficult games.”

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