First posted on Facebook August 29th, 2016
Stevie will turn 53 today and his tally of six caps is perhaps a poor return for such a talented right back but unlike Alan Hutton he had some real competition for his position in Richard Gough, Stevie Nicol amd Stewart McKimmie.
Stevie won 8 under-21 caps as a St. Mirren player but would gain his six full ones during his eleven year spell at Stamford Bridge with Chelsea.
His first cap came in September 1987 in a friendly against Hungary at Hampden. Richard Gough would move to pair with Willie Miller in central defence leaving Clarke to fill Gough’s usual place at full back. Scotland won 2-0, thanks to a double from Ally McCoist.
This was followed by two victories in the 1988 Euro Qualifiers; the first a rarity, a win against Belgium. McCoist supplied the first goal and Paul McStay the second as Scotland won 2-0. This was followed by the famous victory in Bulgaria where Gary Mackay of Hearts scored to hand the Republic of Ireland their first trip to the Finals of a major tournament.
Scotland had played poorly at the start of the Qaulifiers, where two draws and two defeats in their opening games saw them play catch up throughout the rest of the games. A final embarrassing blank draw away to Luxembourg was to follow but Stevie never took part in that game with Derek Whyte filling in.
This was followed by two friendlies in early 1988 as first Scotland drew 2-2 with Saudi Arabia in Riyadh with Mo Johnston and John Collins scoring for Scotland. Scotland then went on to play Malta at the Ta’Qali stadium, Valetta, where Graeme Sharp scoring his only goal for Scotland (let’s leave it at that) gave the Scots the lead but Malta would equalise early in the second half for the game to finish 1-1.
Stevie would then be left on the sidelines over the next few years as Andy Roxburgh first went with Stevie Nicol and then Stewart McKimmie as first choice right back. In fact it would be six years later, that he would gain his sixth and final cap. Injury to Tom Boyd saw McKimmie switch to left back and Clarke recalled to play right back. Scotland lost this friendly 3-1 against Netherlands in May, 1994. This was the match that Duncan Shearer scored his first goal and was mentioned in his birthday piece yesterday.
Following this match Stevie would return to the International wilderness but he would play on with Chelsea for a few more years before moving into coaching and management. Stevie is currently assistant boss to his old Chelsea teammate Roberto Di Matteo at Aston Villa.
Happy Birthday Stevie and all the best.
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