FORMER Kilmarnock manager Jim Jefferies reckons Steve Clarke’s love of coaching could be a barrier to him becoming the next Scotland manager – but insists the Hampden power-brokers would be "crazy" not to approach him.

Clarke, who was named PFA Scotland manager of the year, has performed miracles at Rugby Park in the last 18 months, taking the Ayrshire outfit from relegation candidates to the cusp of Europa League football.

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That feat has understandably placed him firmly in the frame to succeed Alex McLeish in charge of the national side.

Allied with his success at Killie, Jefferies believes Clarke’s cv – working at Newcastle United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Aston Villa alongside luminaries like Jose Mourinho, Kenny Dalglish and Ruud Gullit – means he has all the credentials needed.

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“Steve has got to be in the frame. It would be crazy if he wasn’t. Even if it is the shortest of shortlists, he should be on it,” said Jefferies.

“But only he will know if it appeals. The Scotland job is not for everyone. It is wonderful recognition and a great privilege, I’m sure, but the problem will come if Stevie still feels like he wants the day-to-day involvement.

“He clearly loves working with players, improving them and making his mark on the training ground. It would be a really tough choice to leave that behind for a very different role with Scotland.

“And it’s an unforgiving job. At Kilmarnock he only has one set of supporters to please - and my goodness, he has done that. With Scotland he would have an entire nation to please, as well as all the club managers!

“But Stevie has the track record and the cv that any international side should be looking for and I would be amazed if they [Scottish FA] did not want to have a conversation with him.”

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Jefferies enjoyed a largely successful stint with Killie after arriving at the club in February 2002, significantly reducing the wage bill while guiding them to the 2007 League Cup final, where they were defeated 5-1 by Hibs.

The veteran gaffer was the longest-serving manager in the top-flight when he left Rugby Park in January 2010 and, although he acknowledges that the relationship had more than run its course, he is delighted to see the club flying high.

“You don’t have one of the bigger budgets in the league at Kilmarnock and it’s always a task to get players to go there and fulfil the ambitions there,” continued Jefferies. “I probably stayed a year too long but it’s a great club and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there.

“It’s brilliant to see them back up there after a few lean years. Steve thoroughly deserves the recognition he has received for getting them competing at the top end of the Premiership.

“He has great experience working at big clubs and alongside some of the very best managers in the world, and he has come in and totally revamped and revitalised that football club. The atmosphere seems completely different.

“He has brought together a good team, they are well disciplined, know their roles and, when the time is right, can play some really attractive football. They are up there on merit.”