Kilmarnock boss Steve Clarke makes end-of-season speech amid Scotland speculation

May 19, 2019

Steve Clarke has hinted he could leave Kilmarnock after apologising to fans for not winning a trophy during an emotional end-of-season speech on Sunday.

Beating Rangers was enough to secure third place in the Scottish Premiership and a place in the Europa League and with speculation mounting Clarke could soon be appointed Scotland boss, the supporters chanted "stay, stay, stay".

Clarke is understood to be the preferred candidate to succeed Alex McLeish, and Kilmarnock chairman Billy Bowie plans to meet his manager on Monday to discuss his future.

The club are braced for an official approach from the Scottish FA.

Addressing a packed Rugby Park, Clarke said: "When I came here, we had a disconnect between the support, the board, and the players and I said together we are stronger.

"In my time at Kilmarnock, I'm sorry I didn't win you a trophy but I stand here in front of three stands of Kilmarnock supporters - that is my trophy."

Kilmarnock braced for Scotland approach

The issue of potential compensation is still to be finalised, but Clarke could soon be named the new Scotland national team manager.

The Scottish FA are keen to make an appointment as soon as possible ahead of a Euro 2020 qualifying double-header at the start of June.

A squad for the fixtures against Cyprus on June 8 and Belgium on June 11 is due to be announced next week.

Clarke arrived at Kilmarnock in October 2017 with the former West Bromwich Albion and Reading boss guiding the side from second bottom of the Premiership to fifth spot with a record points tally.

Their third-place finish in the current campaign was their first in 53 years, and secured European football for the first time since 2001.

Clarke, named Scottish Premiership Manager of the Season, added: "I think it's important on a day like this, on the last day of the season, (to say we have) a record points total, the first time since 1966 we have finished in the top three.

"We have gone better than last season. The manager seems to get the credit but I couldn't do anything without my staff. Without the players, this football club doesn't operate. Because these guys have been absolutely magnificent over the past 20 months.

"They have to do it on the pitch and they had to do it today because we wanted to finish third.

"We didn't want Aberdeen to be third, we didn't want to rely on Hibs doing something. We wanted to do it ourselves here, on our pitch. This is our pitch, this is Kilmarnock.

"You have the best owner (Billy Bowie) I have ever come across in football. And remember, I worked for Mr Abramovich. I think Billy's richer. But the most important thing in any football club in the world is the supporters."

Kilmarnock's assistant manager Alex Dyer admitted on May 17 that Clarke would find it hard to turn down the Scotland job if he was offered it.

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