Derek McInnes has told Aberdeen he is not leaving his job as manager, according to chairman Stewart Milne.
The Scottish Sun claim McInnes has been Rangers’ preferred candidate since the departure of Pedro Caixinha at Ibrox last month and he remains among the bookmakers’ frontrunners.
The former Rangers and West Bromwich Albion midfielder has also been linked with the vacancy at the Hawthorns but his confession to clubs bosses appear to emphatically rule out either option.
“Derek made his position very clear to me,” Dons chief Milne told the official Aberdeen website. “He has no intention of going anywhere. He loves this club.”
McInnes has been in charge at Pittodrie since 2013 following stints at St Johnstone and Bristol City.
Aberdeen finished second behind Celtic in the Scottish Premiership last season and were also runners-up to the Glasgow side in the Scottish Cup and League Cup finals.
“He knows he’s loved,” Milne told Red TV. “He knows he’s respected by everyone at the club, by the fans out there. It’s a big big part of Derek’s life. He firmly believes he has unfinished business here.
“He has always said to me he doesn’t want to leave this club with just one trophy in the boardroom. It’s great news for everyone that he is committed. He just wants to get on in doing the job.”
Does this emphatic update from the Aberdeen chairman end Rangers’ pursuit of McInnes? If taken at face value, then almost certainly, yes. Milne’s words express total confidence that the Dons manager is staying, and that he believes he has unfinished business at the club he has managed so successfully for four-and-a-half years. It is a blow to Rangers, but then they have had nearly a month to get their house in order and pay the £800,000 compensation fee needed to prise him from Pittodrie. If that is a figure Rangers can’t find the money for – their latest accounts suggest their finances are far from robust – then they need to move back to the drawing board and identify a cheaper option. It would, of course, be a major embarrassment for Rangers, but then there have been so many of those in recent years for one of the great British football clubs, that fans have become almost immune to them.