Steve Clarke 'humbled and honoured' by Scotland job
"Now is a new chapter, a new challenge, and anybody who knows me knows I like to have a challenge"
By Matthew Treadwell
Last Updated: 21/05/19 1:39pm
Steve Clarke says he is "humbled and honoured" to have been named the new Scotland manager.
Clarke was confirmed in the role on Monday, having guided Kilmarnock to third place in the Scottish Premiership and securing European football next season for the first time in 18 years.
The 55-year-old takes over from Alex McLeish and will be tasked with trying to secure qualification for next year's European Championships.
"I'm absolutely humbled and honoured to be the manager of my national team," said Clarke as he spoke to the media for the first time since being appointed to the role.
"I played for Scotland so to manage Scotland now is probably the pinnacle of my career.
"I wouldn't be here without the time I had at Kilmarnock, it was an incredible 18 months we had there.
"We had great success and thank you to Kilmarnock for everything they gave me and they made this opportunity possible.
"But now is a new chapter, a new challenge, and anybody who knows me knows I like to have a challenge.
"If I was a lazy person, I would still be sitting at Chelsea in the assistant manager's seat. I could have done that forever but this is a big challenge and I look forward to the challenge."
Clarke admitted there is a sense of optimism about his appointment and urged his players to make sure they give their all for the fans, as they look to make up ground In European Qualifiers Group I.
Clarke admitted to feeling under pressure to deliver in the role but urged his players to give their all and qualify for Euro 2020 directly through the group stages.
Clarke appointed Scotland boss
Steve Clarke has been announced as Scotland's new head coach on a three-year deal.
"There's a big expectation but it's always better to start with everybody on board and it's down to me and my players to make sure that they stay on board," he added.
"Let's get a bit of positivity about the national side again.
"We want to make them proud of their country and proud of their team. Numbers have dwindled a little bit but it's my job to make sure the team is focused - I only want players who are 100 per cent committed to the national team.
"I will give everything I can to qualify and qualify through the group stages and I think that's important to say.
"We have slipped up a bit in the first game so we have to make sure we pick up points later in the tournament.
"The two games coming up for us in June [at home to Cyprus and away to Belgium] are absolutely crucial."
Clarke also admitted he was relieved to leave Kilmarnock having finished the job of guiding them to a third-place finish in the table and with it a place in next season's Europa League.
"I'm pleased to have finished the season with Kilmarnock the way we did, that was my big worry about the whole process, that the Scotland situation would accelerate and mean we didn't finish the season of the way we wanted to," he said.
"To get that result at the weekend took a weight off my mind."