Steve Clarke: Kilmarnock manager appointed Scotland head coach on deal until end of 2022 World Cup qualifying

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The former St Mirren and Chelsea defender leaves Killie just a day after guiding them to their highest league finish since 1966

Steve Clarke has been named Scotland’s new head coach, the Scottish Football Association has announced.

Clarke, the former St Mirren and Chelsea defender, joins from Kilmarnock a day after guiding them to their highest league finish since 1966.

The 55-year-old replaces Alex McLeish, whose second spell as Scotland boss ended in April.

“The Scottish FA is delighted to announce the appointment of Steve Clarke as Scotland national team head coach,” a statement read.

“Steve joins from Kilmarnock on a three-year contract until the end of the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifying campaign and was appointed after an extensive recruitment process undertaken by the Scottish FA Chief Executive, Ian Maxwell, and endorsed by the board.”

Clarke’s fine work at Rugby Park saw him named PFA Scotland and Scottish Football Writers’ Association Manager of the Year for 2018/19.

The former West Brom manager has also had spells as coach under Ruud Gullit, Jose Mourinho, Gianfranco Zola and Kenny Dalglish at Newcastle, Chelsea, West Ham and Liverpool respectively.

“It is an honour to be appointed Scotland national head coach and I will undertake those responsibilities with pride and commitment,” Clarke said.

Clarke spent the majority of his playing career with Chelsea after starting off at St Mirren

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Clarke spent the majority of his playing career with Chelsea after starting off at St Mirren

“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.”

Clarke spent 11 years at Chelsea as a defender during his playing career, having started out at St Mirren, and retired after making over 400 appearances for the London club in 1998.

The former right-back, who made six appearances for Scotland between 1987 and 1994, became assistant boss at Newcastle under Gullit, who had previously been his manager at Stamford Bridge.

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“I appreciate the Scotland supporters have waited a long time for the national team to qualify for a major tournament,” Clarke added.

“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.”

McLeish was sacked in April after 14 months in his second spell in charge of Scotland, having come under increasing pressure due to their disappointing start to the Euro 2020 qualifiers.

McLeish’s second spell as Scotland boss lasted just 12 matches

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McLeish’s second spell as Scotland boss lasted just 12 matches

Scotland were beaten 3-0 by Kazakhstan, ranked 117 in the world, and followed that up with an unconvincing 2-0 win over San Marino, FIFA’s lowest-ranked side.

They are currently second from bottom in their Euro 2020 qualifying group behind Belgium, Russia, Cyprus and, Kazakhstan.