Steve Clarke asked about potential Celtic talks; desperately tries to move on

By David Walton

March 16, 2021

Steve Clarke was today asked about potential talks with Celtic but refused to entertain the speculation as he tried to swiftly move on.

Clarke has been linked with the Hoops job at the end of the season after the departure of Neil Lennon [Sky Sports]. John Kennedy is in temporary charge of the club for the rest of the campaign.

Clarke’s stock has risen considerably ever since his arrival in Scottish football back in 2017. After leading Kilmarnock to European football, his biggest achievement was ending Scotland’s qualification hoodoo back in November. The Scots will be at Euro 2020 this summer after ending their 22-year wait to reach a major tournament – an historical achievement for Clarke.

But as speculation mounts over Clarke’s long-term future after the competition, a potential move to Celtic isn’t out of the question. He was asked about it today on Sky Sports News [13:02], and as he confirmed no talks had taken place as of yet, he appeared itching to move on to the next subject.

“I’m definitely not in talks because I am under contract to the SFA. I am looking forward to the games coming up in March, I am looking forward to the Euros in the summer.

“Speculation tells me my players have done well for me, my staff have done well. Nobody speculates about you if you have done a bad job. As I sit here now if someone told me I was going to lead Scotland out to the World Cup in 2022 in Qatar and I’ll be there as Scotland coach, then I would be delighted with that.

“Scotland is my sole focus.”

Steve Clarke refusing to properly shut down Celtic speculation

Clarke looked uneasy when talking about the Celtic job. He clearly wasn’t keen to be drawn into the speculation. And whilst there clearly haven’t been any talks between himself and the club, he’s not shutting it down properly.

Talking about how happy he is with Scotland means nothing. Managers are always bigging up the club they’re at before leaving in a heartbeat. Look at Brendan Rodgers for example. We were made to believe he wasn’t interested in the Premier League due to his love of Celtic. Before departing for his first sniff at a PL job.

If Clarke really wanted to shut the speculation down, he could flat out say he isn’t interested. He could confirm he’ll turn down any approach and ingratiate himself more to the Tartan Army. The only repercussion of that would be that Celtic would lose any interest in him…..perhaps that’s why he won’t do it.

Steve Clarke: Celtic bound? / (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Of course, every fan will have their own view on Clarke. He’s notoriously known for setting his teams up as a defensive unit first and foremost. If Celtic are looking for beautiful, passing football next season, Clarke isn’t your man.

Whilst he appears to have a reputation for maximising potential, the style of play at Celtic is just as important. If Clarke became our manager, he would have to adapt his own style. Even the likes of Gordon Strachan, a three-in-a-row title-winner, isn’t as idolised as he may have been with a nicer brand of football.

But what we have learned is that Celtic haven’t made any contact with Clarke so far. It’ll be interesting to see if that remains the case.

In other news, Celtic could be set for a major April boost after a report from the BBC today.