Celtic: Who could benefit from Clarke hire?

The Celtic manager’s vacancy has to be one of the most talked-about subjects in football right now. Neil Lennon is no longer in charge and as a result, Dermot Desmond and Peter Lawwell have some big decisions to make on who replaces him.

Some impressive names have been touted with taking the job; one of which is current Scotland boss Steve Clarke.

The Express revealed last week that he was one of the names in the running to take over at Parkhead and if you judge him by what he’s achieved with Scotland, you’d take the manager in a heartbeat.

He has taken the national team to their first major tournament since 1998, a historic triumph for the 57-year-old. With that in mind, he will surely take charge of Scotland at the Euros this summer before considering a move elsewhere.

We’ve already looked at the negative influence his style of football could have on Ryan Christie but one player he could benefit is Ismaila Soro.

With Scott Brown out of contract in the summer, he will most likely take on the reins as the Hoops’ primary defensive midfielder.

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He’d tick plenty of boxes for Clarke too, mainly because he prefers to operate with a more defensive style of play. That’s something Celtic podcaster John Paul Dykes has already picked up on: “I think the job he’s doing is reminiscent to Craig Brown. He’s basically shoring up the backline. That’s his absolutely key attribute as a manager,” he said earlier this season.

At Kilmarnock, the Scotland boss saw his team find the net only 1.4 times per game. At Reading, meanwhile, it was even worse; just 1.1 goals per match.

Clarke traditionally prefers to build from the back and stabilise a team’s defence, which would surely make Soro a major component of whatever XI he builds.

At Killie, the coach conceded fewer goals in 2017/18 than Rangers as he guided them to a fifth-place finish. During their next campaign, his team finished third, a season where Kilmarnock conceded less than a goal a game and had the third-best defensive record in the entire Scottish Premiership.

One of the main reasons behind that was not only Clarke but the way he deployed Gary Dicker at the base of his midfield. He missed three league outings all season and laid a solid platform in front of the defence.

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Soro could be a player of a similar ilk for Clarke. After all, he’s already proven what an asset he can be in that third of the pitch this season. In two separate games, the Ivorian has completed over eight tackles; one of which came in the Europa League during a combative performance versus Lille.

Combine that with Clarke’s astute defensive coaching and you could have a star in the making. The £11k-per-week brute would surely relish a partnership such as this.

AND in other news, Forget Harper: Celtic should swoop for 5-goal gem who’s been “on top of the world”…

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