STEVE CLARKE, the frontrunner for the Scotland job, yesterday revealed he will decide by the end of the month whether or not he will be at Kilmarnock next season

Clarke was named the Scottish Football Writers Association’s Manager of the Year for the second year running but the jury's out on whether he will attempt to become the first person to win the prize three years in a row since Rangers’ Walter Smith in 1992-94.

The 55-year-old has already spoken about the emotional reasons for leaving Rugby Park; his wife, children and grandchildren are living in England. Clarke is happy working with the Ayrshire club his older brother, Paul, played for in the 1970s and 80s but he is the favourite to replace Alex McLeish as the next Scotland manager and has also been linked with the vacancy at Brighton & Hove Albion created by the dismissal of Chris Hughton on Monday.

However, he admitted yesterday that he is not yet in a position to make a firm commitment one way or the other.

“At the moment the inside of my head is like a tumble dryer,” he said. “No, I’m not any clearer – the next couple of weeks are going to be very difficult for me.”

Clarke will make his latest appearance at Hampden today, charged by the compliance officer for critical comments he made concerning the performance of referee Steven McLean (“the worst performance I’ve ever seen – and I’ve had a long career”), who sent off three of his players in a 1-0 home defeat by Aberdeen last month.

However, he accepts that working in Scotland for the first time since he left St Mirren to sign for Chelsea in 1987 has been an overwhelmingly positive experience for him.

“Has Kilmarnock been good for me? Absolutely,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of satisfaction from the job. I’ve had a lot of good press since I came back and it’s nice to return to your own country and do well.

“I think some people had maybe forgotten about me a little bit because I’d been down south for so long so it’s been nice to come back and have my name in the headlines, mostly for the right reasons.”

Kilmarnock will clinch third place and a Europa League slot by matching or bettering Aberdeen’s result away to Hibs when Rangers visit on Sunday.

“We’re still in there pitching and fighting for a European spot which, at this stage of the season, I think is fantastic,” he said. “We’re above Aberdeen, Hearts and Hibs.”