He’s spent years being a sought-after number 2 and decided to take a gamble in stepping into the dugout up at Kilmarnock FC.
The former Scotland defender has had stints as an Assistant at clubs such as Chelsea (Under Mourinho), Newcastle (Under Gullit) and Liverpool (Under Dalglish) before embarking on managerial positions at the blue and white of both West Brom and Reading.
During his managerial reigns he guided The Baggies to their highest-ever finish of 8th in the EPL, setting club records for wins (14) and points (48) in a top flight season.
He also took Reading to their first FA Cup Semi-Final for 88 years.
After a year out of football, Clarke replaced Lee McCulloch back in October 2017 and with the club lying bottom of the table, avoiding relegation was the clear objective.
The recent 1-0 victory at Ibrox has guaranteed the Ayrshire side a place in the Scottish Premiership’s top 6 heading into the much maligned split in a couple of weeks.
As most will have limited knowledge of the Scottish game, his record against the Old Firm this season will provide an indication of just how well he’s done:-
Vs Celtic – Played 2 – Won 1 – Drawn 1
Vs Rangers – Played 3 – Won 2 – Drawn 1
Undefeated in 5 games whilst winning 3, virtually unheard of given the gulf involved.
His overall record stands as played 24, won 12 and lost just 3. An amazing turnaround in Killie’s season.
Clarke has succeeded in turning things around at Rugby Park by instilling some basics. He’s ensured that they are fitter, focused and has added quality whilst playing to his existing squad’s strengths.
On six occasions in the 19 league games under Clarke’s management, they have come from behind to earn points. That’s 10 points from losing positions. It seems Clarke has instilled a ‘play the full 90 minutes’ attitude.
They’ve also scored in every game bar two under Clarke. The last time they did not net was in November against Dundee.
Kris Boyd only had two league goals under the previous regime, 12 have been added to his league tally earning him a contract extension. He’s aided in the quest to hit the net by the increasingly impressive Jordan Jones.
Clarke’s reputation, has allowed him to make unlikely acquisitions. Youssouf Mulumbu is the standout and Aston Villa loanee, Aaron Tshibola, is also beginning to contribute.
Brendan Rodgers will quite rightly receive the majority of plaudits for what looks certain to be another domestic sweep of the 3 trophies, however it is Clarke, for us that has done the best job in Scotland’s top league this season.
Graeme Murty is currently at the helm of Rangers until the summer but it is difficult to see him carrying on at the club in his current capacity, he just isn’t a long-term solution for a club of that size.
Do not be surprised to see the Ibrox hierarchy attempt to lure Steve Clarke to be the next man to claw back Celtic’s city dominance.
Steve Clark Image Sourced From; www.kilmarnockfc.co.uk