+1 on checking the plugs. Torque them to spec (I don't remember the number, sorry) but the Haynes manual has the correct range listed.
Throw-out bearing? If the noise is coming from the bellhousing then the TO bearing could be at fault. (Hey, it's been a while but most of my vehicles have been stick cars, lol.)
If the tick is still there after you check/change the plugs and checked the TO bearing, you can get a smoke kit from a safety supply company (maybe the auto supply shop, too) and you can run smoke around each joint in your exhaust. If the smoke puffs away, then you have found a leak.
Good luck and post back with an update.