As the year comes to an end, we at NTOF thought we’d take a look at some of the managers that have impressed in 2020. One stands out above the rest, but we will reveal him later.
Some managers that have impressed in 2020 are David Martindale. He might have only managed Livingston for a few games, but he has manoeuvred them to the Betfred Cup semi-final and clear of relegation trouble.
Callum Davidson has done well taking over from Tommy Wright at St Johnstone. A lengthy unbeaten run has them challenging for a top six place. In the Championship, Stevie Crawford has fared well at Dunfermline. He has them well in the hunt for the promotion play-offs. Jack Ross at Hibernian and Derek McInnes at Aberdeen have also done well.
However, there is one name that stands out when discussing managers that have done well in 2020. That man is Steve Clarke. Okay, Scotland might not have won their Nations League group. However, that pales into comparison to Clarke’s achievement in clinching a place in next season’s European Championships.
Navigated hazardous semi-final
For a start, he helped Scotland navigate a hazardous semi-final against Israel. Then in the final in Serbia, Scotland turned in a performance few would have expected. The team absolutely dominated the game, and the Serbia injury time equaliser was a cruel blow. Thankfully justice was done in the penalty shoot-out and Scotland can look forward to the Euros.
The former Chelsea legend deserves credit for picking unfancied players like Declan Gallagher and Lyndon Dykes, who have shown that they belong in the national team set-up.
Clarke will be hoping that Scotland can make progress at the Euros. It won’t be easy, but he is more than capable of coming up with a plan to nullify Scotland’s opponents.
Job looked almost impossible at first
He deserves plenty of praise for doing a good job that looked very difficult when he first took over as manager. Clarke might have started with some poor results, but he didn’t waver from his principles, and Scotland and the country have benefited as a result.
The next step for Clarke is a good start to the World Cup qualifiers in March. However, when he reflects on the year he should be satisfied with what he has achieved. He ended Scotland’s long wait for qualification, and became a national hero in the process. Clarke might not be the sort of manager to rest on his laurels. However, that night in Serbia will be remembered forever by Scotland fans.