Steve Clarke given backing by Celtic's James Forrest and Kilmarnock's Stephen O'Donnell for Scotland job

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'It looks like his time at Kilmarnock is finished' - BBC pundits on Steve Clarke

Scotland internationals James Forrest and Stephen O'Donnell have backed Steve Clarke to be a success as national head coach.

Celtic winger Forrest was speaking as he and Kilmarnock's Clarke received awards for Scottish Football Writers' player and manager of the year.

"I think it would be a big appointment if he did get the job," Forrest said.

Kilmarnock right-back O'Donnell said: "He has qualities that are transferable to any club or the Scotland team."

Clarke's team finished third in the Scottish Premiership to qualify for European football for the first time in 18 years, secured by Sunday's 2-1 win over Rangers.

It is the Ayrshire side's second successive top-six finish - and record points total - achieved in 19 months under the 55-year-old former West Bromwich Albion and Reading manager.

"To be where we are now, nobody would have believed you in their wildest dreams," O'Donnell told BBC Scotland.

"It's a minor miracle with minimal resources. I would say we are not far off sixth financially, maybe seventh or eighth, so to finish third ahead of the two Edinburgh sides and Aberdeen is incredible."

Clarke refused to speak to the media about his future after his side's win over Rangers on Sunday.

Asked what qualities set Clarke apart from his predecessors, O'Donnell said: "I think calmness. He carries himself with an aura but not an ignorance and it's difficult to get that balance.

"He has a huge amount of respect from the minute he walked in because of what he's done in football."

Clark would bring 'real buzz' to Scotland

Forrest thought the Scotland squad would relish the chance to work with Clarke.

"Everyone knows he's done fantastically well down in England and he's come up and done a tremendous job at Kilmarnock," he said.

"There would be a real buzz about the boys and everyone would be looking forward to it."

Scotland started their qualifying campaign with a disappointing 3-0 defeat away to Kazakhstan, a result that ultimately led to the sacking of Alex McLeish, but Forrest thinks the campaign is salvageable.

"We're only two games into it and we've got two big games in the summer," he said. "I think it would be a really good boost for the boys and for everyone involved. We could then look forward to the big games coming up."

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