New Scotland manager Clarke ‘commands respect’, says Celtic goalkeeper Bain

Steve Clarke Kilmarnock 2018-19
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The incoming boss helped Kilmarnock qualify for Europe for only the second time this century, and the shot-stopper is excited to play under him

Celtic goalkeeper Scott Bain is excited at the prospect of a new era for Scotland under the management of Steve Clarke.

The 55-year-old was appointed on Monday after a hugely successful spell with Kilmarnock, where he brought about a first third-place finish since 1966 – less than two seasons after taking over a side that was bottom of the Scottish Premiership.

After more than two decades in coaching, Clarke is well respected within the game and he developed a reputation at Kilmarnock for standing up for his players and being unafraid to take a stand against perceived injustices.

“He commands respect,” Bain told the Scotsman.

“He speaks his mind, which players respect because a lot of the lads feel the same way.

“They like to speak their minds at times too and it’s good to have a manager who does the same.

“I’ve not really spoken to people at Kilmarnock about Steve Clarke but I’ve spoken with him after games.

“I can only judge from the outside looking in, from Celtic playing against Kilmarnock, but it seems that nobody puts themselves above the team. Everyone works selflessly and that’s how Kilmarnock have had such good results.”

Bain’s most recent Scotland appearance came in the infamous 3-0 defeat against Kazakhstan in March, the low point of Alex McLeish’s disastrous spell as manager which came to an end the following month.

Now, with Clarke at the helm, fans and players alike are looking forward to a more optimistic future, starting with Euro 2020 qualifying fixtures against Cyprus and Belgium in June.

“He has done a fantastic job at Kilmarnock,” said Bain.

“I don’t think you would have found many people who could have predicted what he would achieve there. He’s taken them so high up the league.

“Killie are very difficult to play against and they’re very well organised. Everyone knows their jobs and they’re very hard to break down and score against.

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“That’s why he’s a great fit as Scotland manager. He’ll have us organised and difficult to beat.

“We have a number of big games coming up and a starting point would be to make us difficult to beat.

“The main issue for the national team is that we don’t get a lot of time together so you have to create an environment where everyone knows their jobs and is willing to work hard to get over the line for the team and the country.”