He has been involved in five major tournament finals with the Scottish national team so it takes a lot to make Craig Brown jealous.
But Steve Clarke has managed it.
Brown has seen and done it all with Scotland but Clarke has been able to do one thing Brown could not in being able to take 26 players to the European Championship finals.
The former Scotland boss believes the luxury of having a bigger squad has ensured Clarke has covered all bases ahead of the country’s first appearance in the finals of a major tournament since Brown led Scotland to the World Cup in France in 1998.
He said: “Steve has picked a popular group. He’s fortunate that he has been given leeway due to two things – an increase in the number of players he can select for his squad and injuries to players such as Ryan Jack, Kenny McLean and Oli McBurnie.
“Those factors have allowed him to choose David Turnbull, Nathan Patterson and Billy Gilmour and it is a luxury every national team manager now has.
“When I was manager we could only take 22. The World Cup in 2002 was the first one which was increased to 23 to accommodate a third goalkeeper in the squad. I would have loved to have taken a 26-man squad to a tournament.
“I don’t see Turnbull, Patterson or Gilmour starting any games. If they do that’s great though as it will show we’re also looking to future tournaments but whatever happens it will be a terrific experience for them.”
Aberdeen FC ambassador Brown can empathise with the plight Clarke has faced in having to draw up new plans on the eve of the tournament after being forced to make late changes due to the loss of key players due to injuries.
He knows, when it comes to Scotland, losing big players before a ball has been kicked is nothing new.
The former Dons boss said: “I was fortunate to work at three World Cups and Scotland lost key players before all three.
“In Mexico in 1986 we lost Kenny Dalglish, perhaps our greatest player. In Italy in 1990 we lost two in Davie Cooper and John Robertson. Both had been on fire for their clubs. Then in 1998 we lost Gary McAllister for France to a knee injury.
“Steve has faced a similar scenario after losing Kenny McLean and Ryan Jack, two players I believe would have been picked for his starting 11. He’s also lost Oli McBurnie too but it appears Che Adams and Lyndon Dykes are ahead of him in the pecking order now.
“It’s a really unfortunate situation for Steve as we’re talking about two very good midfielders in Jack and McLean.
“Whenever a squad is announced you will hear the occasional moan from someone about who should be there and who shouldn’t and it has been no different this year.
“The biggest call was Leigh Griffiths, a player who is capable of turning a game. Steve will no doubt have thought long and hard about that one and it looks as if it has come down to a choice between Griffiths and Kevin Nisbet with the Hibs striker getting the nod as he has played regularly for his club this season.”
With two friendlies to be played before the tournament gets underway Scotland’s final 26-man squad may yet be altered again but Brown believes whatever challenges come the national team’s way, having Clarke at the helm to tackle them is key.
He said: “Recent events at Kilmarnock have shown how good a manager Steve is. I’m convinced they would still be a Premiership club if he was still their manager.
“He guided West Brom to their highest finish in the Premier League and led Kilmarnock to third and their highest points tally despite working with a modest budget.
“It all shows how good an operator he is. He has worked with Chelsea and Liverpool too which tells you just highly regarded he is and we’re lucky to have him in charge of the national team.
“I feel as if we’re in a good place at the moment. It’s a popular squad, a confident group and the players want to be there. He has built a good set-up there.
“My only disappointment is Andy Considine hasn’t made the squad. A lot can happen between now and the tournament starting and if a late call does come nobody will deserve it more than he does.”