Scotland boss Steve Clarke touches on 2014 Celtic talks

By David Walton

May 25, 2021

Scotland manager Steve Clarke has revealed that he discussed the Celtic job with Dermot Desmond back in 2014.

Clarke has been linked with the Hoops job several times throughout his career. He’s even been reported as one of the candidates to replace Neil Lennon as permanent Hoops boss this summer [Glasgow Times].

His managerial career has seen him do impressive work at the likes of West Brom, Kilmarnock, and now with Scotland. He’s the man who finally ended the nation’s arduous 22-year wait to qualify for a major competition in Euro 2020. However, as it turns out, he could’ve had Celtic on his list of previous gigs by this point.

That’s because he was courted by the Hoops seven years ago after leaving West Brom. Clarke has spoken about what went on in the Scottish Sun, as he said the following:

“At the start of that summer, I was quite confident I’d come out the other side in a job of some kind. I met Dermot Desmond at his place in London and we had a good chat – I was interviewed by Brighton at around the same time.

“I had two really good interviews at two really good clubs and ended up runner-up in both. Celtic appointed Ronny Deila and Sami Hyypia got the Brighton job. So it was a little lesson for me not to be too confident about getting a job in future.

“It’s nice to be wanted, it’s nice to be invited for interviews but it’s not always certain a job is going to result. A few months later I went to Reading. The job didn’t turn out the way I thought it would, but I made the most of it then moved on.”

Scotland boss could’ve been a success at Celtic

There was a time when Clarke could easily have been a successful Celtic manager. He certainly has the man-management skills for it, and his CV speaks for itself. Working under the likes of Jose Mourinho at Chelsea before becoming a success in three different managerial jobs? Clarke has done pretty well for himself to say the least.

Yet these days it’s no longer an appointment that would be overly welcomed at Celtic Park. An announcement that the Euro 2020-bound boss would be taking over at Celtic would be met with sheer frustration.

Not because we’ve been made to believe that we’re close to bagging Eddie Howe either. But because of the way Clarke goes about setting his teams up to play. As we know, the Hoops have historically been linked with playing vibrant, attacking football. This couldn’t be any further from how Clarke sees the game.

Scotland manager Steve Clarke / (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

His Scotland side, despite their incredible qualification achievement, play some of the most eye-bleeding football we’ve seen from the national team in some time. They’re set up with the old-fashioned “hard to beat” mentality. However, when watching it as a supporter, it’s grim viewing even if some big results have been secured.

Clarke’s failure to secure promotion to the UEFA Nations League A was also a major disappointment. Only needing one point from the final two games – Scotland conspired to lose both and will remain in the “B” section for now. That damaged his reputation a touch, as has the poor start to World Cup qualifying for 2022.

There was a time when Clarke would’ve been a welcome appointment. But now that Celtic fans have gotten a lot more used to how he plays the game, it’s certainly pushed him down the pecking order.

In other news, we take a look at what Eddie Howe reportedly told Celtic yesterday with Richard Hughes’ role also being explained.