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May 21, 2019

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Clarke is new Scotland boss

Steve Clarke has been named as the new Scotland manager on a three-year contract that takes him through to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the Scottish Football Association said yesterday.

The 55-year-old has left Kilmarnock to succeed Alex McLeish, who was sacked after Scotland’s disappointing start to the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign which included an embarrassing 0-3 defeat away to Kazakhstan.

Clarke was voted Manager of the Year in Scotland this season after guiding Kilmarnock to third place in the Scottish Premiership — the club’s highest league position since 1966.

“It is an honor to be appointed Scotland National Head Coach and I will undertake those responsibilities with pride and commitment,” Clarke said in an SFA statement. “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.”

Former West Bromwich Albion and Reading manager Clarke has also worked as an assistant under Ruud Gullit at Newcastle, Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, Gianfranco Zola at West Ham and Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool.

McLeish oversaw five wins and seven losses during his second managerial stint with Scotland which secured a Euro 2020 playoff spot after it finished top of its Nations League group.

Scotland, which is struggling in fifth place after two games in the European Championship qualifiers, is looking to end its 22-year wait to reach the finals of a major tournament.

Clarke wants his players to follow the example set by Scotland’s women’s team, who will be making their World Cup debut in France next month.

Scotland faces Cyprus at Hampden Park on June 8 before it visits Belgium three days later in Group I, which also includes Russia, Kazakhstan and San Marino, which it beat 2-0 away.


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