Kilmarnock chief warns Rangers to keep their hands off Steve Clarke and insists boss WILL be at Rugby Park next season
Billy Bowie has shot down suggestions his in-demand gaffer could be Ibrox bound next season.
Kilmarnock powerbroker Billy Bowie has warned Rangers to forget about snapping up Steve Clarke in the summer.
The Rugby Park chief has been irked by suggestions his in-demand boss could be Ibrox bound next term if the Gers board choose to make a move.
Bowie revealed there has been no approaches for the manager - and told supporters their gaffer WILL be in charge of Killie next season.
Clarke’s stock has shot through the roof with the former West Brom and Fulham boss turning Killie from relegation strugglers to top six high fliers in less than six months in the hotseat.
The 54-year-old made it a double over Rangers with their victory at Ibrox on Saturday and also taken Celtic’s scalp in a run of five games unbeaten against the Old Firm.
The weekend masterclass at Ibrox has prompted calls the Light Blues should be targeting Clarke as next permanent manager with interim boss Graeme Murty in place until the end of the season.
But Bowie has issued a hands off warning and insisted the manager is going nowhere
The majority shareholder told Record Sport: “There’s been a lot of speculation but let’s nip this in the bud. Steve signed a two-and-a-half year contract and as far as we are concerned he will be here next season.
“That’s it. There seems all this talk as if he’s definitely going here, there and everywhere in the summer as if it’s a done deal.
“Far from it. We heard it before and this week it’s Rangers. No one really mentions little old Kilmarnock.
“It was the same at the weekend. It’s all very well taking about how Rangers played but not as much about the outstanding Kilmarnock performance.
“I understand people might be looking at the job he is doing though.
“But we are trying to build something here and Steve is a huge part of it. He has never once mentioned anything about going anywhere and is completely focused on his job.”
Bowie was confident Clarke would turn around the club’s fortunes - but he admitted he has been stunned by the level of success Jose Mourinho’s former right hand man has enjoyed in Ayrshire.
Killie were toiling at the foot of the table when the ex-Chelsea and Liverpool assistant arrived but cemented their place in the top six after the split with Saturday’s Ibrox win.
The gaffer has got the side firing - but he’s also galvanised the support with 9,000 packing in to Rugby Park last week for the Scottish Cup penalty shootout defeat to Aberdeen.
Bowie is adamant this is just the start as the club has big plans including a new training facility, a fan zone at the stadium and a huge community drive.
He insisted Clarke will play a central role for the rest of the current campaign and beyond.
Bowie said: “We knew we were bringing in a top manager but I don’t think anyone expected the kind of impact he has made.
“Look at the Aberdeen game last week where there were 9000 at Rugby Park. That was on a cold Tuesday night as well. The result was disappointing but the fact there was a sense of disappointment shows how far the club has come under Steve.
“We always said this was a sleeping giant and we are seeing it’s starting to wake up.
“It’s been unbelievable and to secure a top six place so soon is a terrific achievement. The season is far from finished yet and the next target is fourth.
“Who knows, we could even get a couple of trips in to Europe next season, which would be incredible.
“But it’s not just about what the club does this season. There are plans in place for the future and Steve has a big role to play.”
...Well done BB for addressing the situation and shuting up the disrespectful media. All you worriers can relax now.