Hearts boss Craig Levein: Steve Clarke is Manager of the Year but Scotland job may frustrate him

Craig Levein voted for Steve Clarke as Scotland’s Manager of the Year – but told the Kilmarnock coach the Scotland job could frustrate him if he craves day-to-day involvement.

Friday, 3rd May 2019, 6:30 am
Craig Levein and Steve Clarke will meet this weekend when Hearts take on Kilmarnock. Pic: SNS

Clarke is a contender to succeed Alex McLeish at Hampden Park in a role Levein held between 2009 and 2012. The Hearts manager revealed how he chose his Kilmarnock counterpart for Manager of the Year ahead of the club’s meeting at Tynecastle Park tomorrow. However, were Clarke to swap Rugby Park for Hampden, Levein fears he may be in for a surprise.

“Having experienced it, the [Scotland] job is not what you think it is,” he explained. “It doesn’t bring the same things that day-to-day that football management does – that constant involvement with players and constantly keeping your mind active on who you are going play next week. You get loads of different problems you need to solve before the next game comes around.

“With the Scotland job, there are long periods of inactivity which I spent going down to England, looking at clubs, watching games and stopping at McDonald’s and putting two stone on. It’s not the same. It’s a football management job but it’s not the same.

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“If you crave that day-to-day involvement then it’s a hell of a frustrating job – forgetting about anything else – just from what you are doing on a weekly basis and how you fill that time productively.

“I have been lucky enough just about all of my life to be involved with football where it’s not a job, it doesn’t seem like I am going to my work. I consider myself hugely fortunate I have been involved like that.

“However, the Scotland job isn’t that. For me, the feeling wasn’t the same as I had at Dundee United before I went there, or at Leicester, or at Hearts the time before or even at Cowdenbeath. That was part-time but I was there most of the time.

“For someone who craves that level of activity, it’s not the right job. I’m not saying someone couldn’t do it successfully, I’m saying there are huge differences.

“I’d be interested to hear the thoughts of other people who have done the job. That was my biggest frustration, not being able to work with and develop players and have that day-to-day activity. I don’t know what Stevie’s thoughts are, or Davie Moyes’ or anyone who is in the running for the job. That’s just how I felt.”