Kilmarnock boss Clarke to contest SFA charge

Kilmarnock manager Steve Clarke will contest his latest Scottish Football Association charge following his rant at referee Steven McLean last week.

Stuart Findlay, Kirk Broadfoot and Rory McKenzie were sent off in the 1-0 Ladbrokes Premiership defeat by Aberdeen at Rugby Park – the latter’s red card rescinded on appeal – and afterwards Clarke described the official’s performance as “the worst” he had ever seen.

The former West Brom boss called for McLean never to officiate at a Kilmarnock match again, claiming the fact that his father Stuart was a former player at the club had again affected his performance in a game involving the Ayrshire outfit.

Clarke’s hearing date is Thursday, May 9. He was given a suspended two-game ban in October for criticising the Scottish FA’s disciplinary process.

The former Chelsea and St Mirren defender was in no mood to expand on the issue but said: “I will go and see the SFA again. That’s it.

“I haven’t really thought about it.

“I have been busy this week preparing two appeals and preparing a team to play Celtic so I haven’t really given it too much thought to be honest.”

Clarke was surprised that Broadfoot’s appeal for the punishment given for challenging Aberdeen keeper Joe Lewis was rejected, saying: “Yes. It was a genuine attempt to play the ball.”

The Rugby Park boss “expected” McKenzie to be successful after he was shown a red card for tangling with Dom Ball, saying, “he didn’t kick the guy three times which was on the report.”

Clarke remains among those tipped for the vacant Scotland manager’s job but he gave a question about that little consideration.

He said: “I don’t speak about Scotland. I have to concentrate on the Kilmarnock job between now and the end of the season.”

With Findlay and Broadfoot suspended and Scott Boyd out with a long-term knee injury, while on-loan midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu cannot play against his parent club and winger Jordan Jones still out with a shoulder injury, Clarke faces a selection dilemma for the trip to Parkhead.

He said: “I am missing my three first choice central defenders, I am missing Youssouf Mulumbu and Jordan Jones.

“I think if we get through training today without any injuries and there are no illnesses overnight, we will have a full squad of 18 players.

“We were disappointed to lose three points to Aberdeen last week so we have a three point gap that we have to make up between now and the end of the season.”

Celtic Park will be packed as fans pay tribute to former Hoops captain and manager Billy McNeill, who died earlier in the week aged 79 after a battle with dementia.

“It will be a very emotional day for people connected with Celtic,” said the Killie boss.

“We will go there and respect the emotion of the day and try to do a very professional job and hopefully we will come back with some points.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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