"I'm not surprised", "Brilliant manager"; John McGinn delivers verdict on boss's links to Celtic

By John McGinley

March 15, 2021

Scotland star John McGinn isn’t surprised that Steve Clarke is being discussed in relation to the vacant Celtic job.

High-profile pundits such as Michael Stewart have claimed Celtic will be looking to speak to the former Kilmarnock boss given his managerial record over the last few years.

He’s also consistently been named amongst the bookmakers’ favourite for the position. [OddsChecker]

Clarke himself meanwhile has said he is comfortable in his Scotland position and is set to lead the country into the European Championships this summer.

There’s no firm indication that Celtic are keen on appointing him, but one of his international stars isn’t shocked his name has come up.

Speaking to The Go Radio Football Show tonight, McGinn said of the links: “First and foremost, I’m not surprised he’s been connected and linked with the job.

“He’s a brilliant manager and says it how it is. He’s obviously been with the top clubs across England and up here.

“He did a brilliant job with Kilmarnock and as a team it was probably slow initially as to how we had set up under him, but the more and more we got used to how it worked and the style of play it certainly has benefited us going forward.

“The success is really a platform and he is as hungry as us players to go and carry that on, so it’s nice to hear that there is going to be a bit of continuity (for the Euros) if someone is going to nab him but hopefully Ian Maxwell and the SFA can keep him for a while yet.”

McGinn, as we know, is a boyhood Celtic supporter and once nearly joined the club during the Brendan Rodgers era. Now shining in the English Premier League with Aston Villa, he’ll no doubt be watching developments at Celtic Park closely.

Pragmatic Steve Clarke may not fit Celtic

There’s no point in trying to diminish Clarke’s notable work as a manager. The job he did at Kilmarnock was fantastic. Guiding Scotland to a major tournament for the first time in over 20 years was also impressive.

Steve Clarke has been tipped for success at Celtic / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

However, I do have my doubts about his Celtic credentials. He’s on the record stating he’s not a fan of the whole Celtic v Rangers circus and that would likely be a prime consideration even if the Bhoys wanted to appoint him.

On the pitch, his pragmatic defensive style would likely be more Gordon Strachan than Brendan Rodgers. That may not go down too well with a large proportion of supporters.

There is a version of Celtic that I can see Clarke in the dugout for. But heading into this bright new era with a new structure in place, something about his profile just doesn’t quite fit.

In other news, Siriki Dembele and his Peterborough situation should be of interest to Celtic.