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Feeling Excited About The Scotland Steve Clarke Era!

Date: 20th May 2019

I was probably at my lowest ebb after Scotland’s hopeless away performance as we were trounced by Kazakstan, I didn’t think I’d be excited by our national team again.

Yet just a few months later, and I’m genuinely feeling hopeful that we’re about to embark on a much brighter future. 

The reason for this? 

Well the SFA have actually appointed a manager that’s on an upward turn in his career. 

Too many times in recent appointments we’ve picked bosses that had success earlier in their management careers or in some cases got the job by default. 

In Steve Clarke I think we’ve got a gaffer that’s relevant, who will get the best from the players he’s got at his disposal and will come in knowing our league and our national team. 

I think people often forget that Clarke had a longterm coaching life working and learning under top gaffers like Kenny Dalglish and Jose Mourinho. 

I think the coaching element is pretty big when it comes to working with international players, as you get such a short timeframe on the training ground to work with your stars. You need to be direct and get your point across quickly. 

He also had a very decent stint as a manager in the English top flight, helping West Bromwich Albion to their highest Premier League finish as he guided them to eighth spot in 2013. Steve managed to gain victories over Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool. I believe his sacking at the Hawthorns was more down to differences with club’s board rather than solely down to his team’s performances. 

Clarke also got Reading to their first FA Cup semi-final in eighty-eight years during his second stint as a club’s number one. 

The fifty-five year old then found himself struggling to get a new managerial job, yet instead of sulking in the wilderness he took a bet on himself and surprisingly returned home to Scotland in 2017 as he took the Kilmarnock job

Now I love Killie but the role, at that time, wasn’t that lucrative nor was it really sought after but Clarke walked in and made the job his own. 

He commanded instant respect from the dressing room, and he didn’t really change much when it came to personnel. He simply got a lot more out of the footballers that were there.

The players trusted him and they started to believe in themselves. He formed game-plans and the side stuck to them and soon climbed the Scottish Premiership table. They would finish fifth come May 2018. 

Could he do the same this season? 

Steve Clarke and his team did even better, they would finish third this year and Killie are now back in Europe! 

All with a squad that is probably overachieving. There’s no superstars, just a mix of youngsters and veterans that go out to get the job done. They’ve enjoyed victories over Celtic, Rangers and Aberdeen. 

I can’t emphasis enough that Steve was the driving force that secured that third place for Kilmarnock. Yes the players did their part, he was backed by the owner and the fans have come out in their numbers to back the team but Clarke’s the great instigator that brought that feel good factor back. 

That’s why he deserves his back to back manager of the year awards and quite frankly why he was the outstanding candidate for the Scotland job. 

Plus I also like the way the former Killie boss conducts himself off the park. He wants to give the fans more from his teams and he won’t shy away from the big issues either. 

The SFA needed to act fast and dump Alex McLeish, unfortunately it was easy for everyone to see that Big Eck wasn’t the right man for the job. He was dated and couldn’t get the most form the Scottish talent. 

We needed to bring in someone that’s doing the right things and is still very much relevant to modern day football. 

We do have the makings of a good Scotland squad as long as the players are well versed on their duties and can believe in themselves. 

The new Scotland manager has said something similar: 

“I firmly believe we have a talented group of players who can achieve success on the international stage. I look forward to working with them and helping them to fulfil those ambitions.”

We’ve got a real chance to qualify for Euro 2020 and I think Steve Clarke is a manager that’s capable of getting us there and he can bring the feel good factor back to an entire nation! 

By Scott Johnston.  

Posted in: Latest News