Champions League winning manager linked with Kilmarnockby Jack Kitson / 23 May 2019, 13:58Tweet
Kilmarnock have reluctantly opened up the search for a new gaffer after the PFA Scotland and Scottish Football Writers' Association Manager of the Year, Steve Clarke, left his post in order to become the latest man to try and attempt to rejuvenate the Scotland national team.
Killie were second-from-bottom in the league upon Clarke's appointment 19 months ago. His arrival sparked a stunning transformation as the Ayrshire side recovered to finish 5th last season, eclipsed by a remarkable 3rd spot last weekend - the club’s highest since 1966 - and subsequently a spot in next season’s Europa League.
The next incumbent at Rugby Park has huge shoes to fill as the club attempts to unearth a manager who can continue the good work and feel-good factor.
Livingston boss and former Killie midfielder Gary Holt currently tops the pile in the next Kilmarnock manager market. Assistant manager Alex Dyer also features - although an appointment is very unlikely after he followed Clarke to the national team - as do the likes of James Fowler, Allan Johnston, and Jim Goodwin.
However, a surprise name has been propelled into the mix in the form of ex-Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo, the 4/1 second-favourite.
Di Matteo enjoyed an staggering start to life in the managerial arena when he was appointed caretaker manager of Chelsea in March 2012 following the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas.
In the space of three-and-a-half-months he’d won the Champions League and FA Cup double. That astonishing achievement earned the Italian the permanent job, but he was axed just three months into the 2012/13 season.
Perhaps the £10.7m compensation fee softened the blow a little.
Two years later Di Matteo returned to management with German side Schalke but resigned after 33 games.
He jetted back to England with Aston Villa following the club’s relegation down to the Championship - with a certain Steve Clarke as his assistant - but was sacked 12 games into the season.
He’s been out of management ever since.
What on earth Di Matteo is suddenly doing in contention for the Kilmarnock job is anyone’s guess. It’s certainly got us stumped...potentially his old pal Clarke put in a good work upon his departure?