BILLY Thomson last night described Stevie Clarke as the best manager he has ever worked with in the game - and expressed confidence he can resurrect Scotland in exactly the same way he has turned around Kilmarnock.

Thomson celebrated with Clarke and the other members of the Rugby Park backroom team on Sunday when the Ayrshire club beat Rangers in their final Ladbrokes Premiership fixture of the season and qualified for Europe for the first time in 18 years.

The vastly-experienced goalkeeping coach believes it was a richly-deserved reward for a man he rates as highly, if not more highly, than revered coaches Jim McLean, Jock Stein, Dick Advocaat and Walter Smith.

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“Jim McLean was an exceptional practitioner,” he said. “He knew his stuff. I worked under Jock Stein with Scotland I also worked with Dick Advocaat and Walter Smith and Alex McLeish at Rangers. But I must admit Stevie is the best I have worked with. There is no doubt about that.

“I have no doubt that Stevie will do exactly the same thing with Scotland as he has done with Kilmarnock. If you can get good players, put them in their right positions and get them to realise their potential – generally just be Stevie Clarke – then I have got no doubt he will be successful.

“There are good players there. Again, it is just a case of galvanising all these players and getting them to buy into the manager. It goes a long, long way.

“There are certainly good players playing for good clubs. It is just a case of coaching them, getting a system and getting the players wanting to play for Scotland. I am confident that Stevie will be able to do that.”