Steve Clarke: Kilmarnock boss 'sorry for not winning trophy'

Manager Steve Clarke apologised to Kilmarnock fans for not winning a trophy before departing to become Scotland manager.

In an impassioned on-field speech after the club clinched a Europa League spot, Clarke said seeing three sides of Rugby Park full was "my trophy".

He was speaking after Kilmarnock beat Rangers to secure third place in the Scottish Premiership.

"The pressure was on - we wanted to do it on our pitch," Clarke said.

"When I came here, we had a disconnect between the support, the board, and the players and I said together we are stronger.

"In my time at Kilmarnock, I'm sorry I didn't win you a trophy but I stand here in front of three stands of Kilmarnock supporters - that is my trophy."

The Scottish FA announced Clarke's appointment on Monday afternoon with the squad for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Cyprus on 8 June and in Belgium three days later scheduled to be announced next week.

From second bottom to Europe

Steve Clarke, left, watched Sunday's game from the stand as he served the first match of a two-game ban
Steve Clarke, left, watched Sunday's game from the stand as he served the first match of a two-game ban

Clarke said earlier this month he had a "professional or personal" decision to make when weighing up whether to remain at Kilmarnock next term.

After arriving in October 2017, the former West Bromwich Albion and Reading manager steered Kilmarnock from second bottom of the Premiership to fifth place with a record points tally.

The Ayrshire side surpassed that total this term on their way to finishing third, with the former Scotland international named manager of the year by both PFA Scotland and the country's football writers.

McLeish was sacked in April two weeks after opening the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a 3-0 defeat in Kazakhstan, followed by an unconvincing win in San Marino.

Scotland topped their Nations League section during McLeish's 14-month tenure, which guarantees a play-off semi-final place if a top-two spot cannot be secured in qualifying.

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