Clarke became a national hero after leading the country to their first tournament since France 98 on Thursday night.
Progress had been steady with Scotland prior to the defining penalty shootout win over Serbia to reach Euro 2020.
The 57-year-old had taken over from Alex McLeish in May 2019 following a successful spell at Kilmarnock.
In his first season at Rugby Park Killie finished fifth with a points tally of 59 – the highest in the club's history. He followed it up with third place and qualification for European football for the first time since 2001.
It could have been very different for Clarke, however.
Former Scotland and Chelsea team-mate Pat Nevin revealed he was “very, very close" to getting him the Hibs job prior to landing the Killie one in 2017 after two years out of management.
“He had a really good run with clubs he was at, Newcastle, Liverpool, Chelsea etc,” Nevin told The Totally Scottish Football Show. “Then he did the West Bromg thing. To be fair, he did a right good job there.
"Before he went to Kilmarnock I met up with him. I talked to him and asked if he was desperate to get back in. He said: ‘I don’t know’.
“He probably had been hurt because he did a good job and when you do a good job you expect to be rewarded. I always thought there were other jobs out there for him.
“In fact I know. There was one I almost got for him myself. I was very, very close to getting him into Hibs before he went to Kilmarnock. It was very, very close with Clarkey on that one.
"There were things there but I could see in his eyes that he needed something that would really engage him. He took the Kilmarnock one and I went down to see him and he came across as ‘I’m having a last week go at this’ because he knew his ability, he knew within the game he was highly rated.
“To be fair, Clarkey has made plenty out the game financially and when Kilmarnock went as well as it did, although you couldn’t see it on the outside, it definitely regenerated him.”