Clarke takes Scotland job

Scotland have appointed Steve Clarke as their new head coach on a three-year deal.

Scotland have appointed Steve Clarke as their new head coach on a three-year deal.

The 55-year-old led Kilmarnock to third in the Scottish Premiership, their highest finish since 1966, and after weeks of rumours, hinted that he would be departing Rugby Park when addressing the fans after Sunday’s 2-1 win over Rangers.

A search for a new Scotland coach was launched following Alex McLeish’s sacking on April 18 and Clarke and Aberdeen’s Derek McInnes quickly emerged as the leading candidates.

McInnes’ insistence that he did not want the job put the spotlight on the former West Brom coach and the SFA confirmed his appointment on Monday.

The new boss’ first targets will be strong results in June’s Euro 2020 qualifiers against Cyprus and Belgium as he looks to end Scotland’s 21-year wait to appear at a major tournament.

Clarke says he wants to take inspiration from the country’s women’s team, who recently qualified for next month’s World Cup.

‘It is an honour,’ he said.

‘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.

‘I appreciate the Scotland supporters have waited a long time for the national team to qualify for a major tournament.

Now we have a Women’s World Cup to look forward to in France this summer and it’s my motivation to emulate the success of Shelley Kerr and her squad by leading us to EURO 2020.

‘I believe we can qualify and look forward to that journey with the players and the fans, starting against Cyprus and Belgium next month.’