Chair­man is de­lighted as Dons boss snubs Rangers

Huge sigh of re­lief as Shin­nie vows not to let saga af­fect form

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - FRONT PAGE - BY DANNY LAW

Aberdeen chair­man Ste­wart Milne de­scribed him­self as the hap­pi­est man in the world af­ter his man­ager Derek McInnes, above, sen­sa­tion­ally snubbed man­ager­less Rangers.

The 46-year-old had been heav­ily linked with the Glas­gow gi­ants for the last six weeks, since the sack­ing of Pe­dro Caix­inha.

Aberdeen chair­man Ste­wart Milne de­scribed him­self as the hap­pi­est man in the world af­ter Dons man­ager Derek McInnes re­jected the chance to join Rangers.

The 46-year-old had been heav­ily linked with a move to the Ibrox club for the past six weeks since the sack­ing of Pe­dro Caix­inha on Oc­to­ber 26.

McInnes emerged as the pre­ferred can­di­date for the Light Blues this week when they made an ap­proach to speak to the former Bris­tol City and St John­stone man­ager on Tues­day, which

“Ev­ery­one looks for­ward to putting the spec­u­la­tion be­hind us”

was swiftly re­jected by the Dons.

How­ever, McInnes’ fu­ture at Pit­to­drie looked un­cer­tain af­ter he and his as­sis­tant Tony Docherty were ab­sent from two train­ing ses­sions and yes­ter­day’s sched­uled pre-match press con­fer­ence ahead of tonight’s meet­ing with Dundee, prompt­ing sug­ges­tions he could ten­der his res­ig­na­tion to force a move.

But, in a dra­matic twist, Aberdeen con­firmed last night that McInnes, who is un­der con­tract un­til 2020, would be re­main­ing with the Dons – much to the de­light of chair­man Milne.

Milne said: “I spoke with Derek who felt it was a ma­jor thing to be con­sid­ered for the man­age­rial po­si­tion at a club such as Rangers and we agreed that he could have some time to think about the ap­proach and talk it through with his fam­ily. Over the past 48 hours, I have been in con­stant di­a­logue with Derek and, hav­ing weighed up the op­por­tu­nity, he has taken the de­ci­sion to re­main as Aberdeen FC man­ager.

“Derek ap­pre­ci­ates all that he has at this club and feels he wants to keep driving the club for­ward.

“This is where he wants to be and he feels he very much has un­fin­ished business with Aberdeen FC.

“I per­son­ally am de­lighted that Derek has de­cided to re­main with the club and ev­ery­one looks for­ward to putting the spec­u­la­tion of the past few weeks be­hind us and con­cen­trat­ing on mat­ters on the park start­ing at Dens Park.”

The Dons man­ager was also keen to draw a line un­der the mat­ter and turn his full at­ten­tion to re­turn­ing to win­ning ways against Dundee at Dens Park tonight fol­low­ing suc­ces­sive de­feats by Rangers.

He said: “I’ve had a lot to con­sider over the last cou­ple of days and I ap­pre­ci­ate it’s been a test­ing time for ev­ery­one, in­clud­ing my fam­ily, and I’m pleased to be now to­tally fo­cus­ing purely on on-the­field mat­ters.”

McInnes suc­ceeded Craig Brown at Pit­to­drie in March 2013 and guided the club to League Cup suc­cess a year later, end­ing the club’s 19-year wait for sil­ver­ware.

The Dons have fin­ished run­ners-up for the past three sea­sons and reached both cup fi­nals last term, los­ing on both oc­ca­sions to tre­ble-win­ning Celtic.

Aberdeen cap­tain Graeme Shin­nie in­sists he will not let the six-week saga of Rangers’ pur­suit of Derek McInnes de­rail his team’s sea­son.

The Dons’ form has dropped dra­mat­i­cally since Rangers’ in­ter­est in the Aberdeen man­ager be­gan, with the Pit­to­drie side tak­ing just four points from a pos­si­ble 15.

How­ever, the mat­ter came to a dra­matic con­clu­sion last night, with McInnes con­firm­ing that he will not be mak­ing the move to Ibrox.

The Aberdeen man­ager and his as­sis­tant Tony Docherty have been ab­sent from the Dons’ last two train­ing ses­sions ahead of tonight’s Premier­ship meet­ing with Dundee at Dens Park.

But Shin­nie says this week’s off-field events will have no im­pact on his side’s per­for­mance tonight.

He said: “As play­ers, we have to fo­cus and we’ve tried not to let the spec­u­la­tion af­fect us and we shouldn’t let it af­fect us. We need to keep on the straight and nar­row and en­sure our re­sults pick up.

“We want to do as well as we can, which means clos­ing the gap on Celtic as well as we can. But, given the form they are in, it has been tough.

“Af­ter that, sec­ond place is where we want to be. We haven’t hit the heights as we know we can but we were still in a po­si­tion where we lost six points to Rangers last week but we are still on the same points as them. We’re still in a po­si­tion where we are fight­ing for it and it will be a tough pe­riod be­tween now and the Christ­mas break so we have to get our heads down and fo­cus.”

There has been a frus­tra­tion within Pit­to­drie at the pro­tracted saga and Shin­nie had been keen to see it com­ing to a con­clu­sion.

He added: “Nat­u­rally, you wanted some sort of clar­i­fi­ca­tion that lets all par­ties move for­ward, but it was out of our hands and noth­ing to do with us.

“As play­ers, all we can do is fo­cus on pre­par­ing as well as we can for the game we have com­ing up.

“The train­ing has been good. It has been as nor­mal. The tempo has been bril­liant. The play­ers are more fo­cused on try­ing to get back to win­ning ways.”

It is the sec­ond time McInnes has re­jected the chance to leave his Aberdeen job. He turned down the op­por­tu­nity to move to English Cham­pi­onship club Sun­der­land when they ap­proached in the sum­mer.

Shin­nie is not sur­prised that such a club was keen to prise McInnes away from Pit­to­drie.

He said: “He was the man­ager who brought me here. We have had some great times at Aberdeen. If the team is do­ing well then there are go­ing to be clubs com­ing look­ing for the man­ager. There was a big turn­around of play­ers in the sum­mer.

“That was tes­ta­ment to how well the team has been do­ing. It is part and par­cel of foot­ball. You have to get on with it. The only way we can do that is by fo­cus­ing on the game against Dundee.”

“Shouldn’t let any spec­u­la­tion af­fect us. We have to be fo­cused”

TIES THAT BIND: Derek McInnes and Ste­wart Milne, above at Pit­to­drie on the day the man­ager was ap­pointed on March 25, 2013, re­main fully com­mit­ted to the Dons

NOW WE GO FOR­WARD: Graeme Shin­nie is de­ter­mined to re­pay man­ager Derek McInnes’ com­mit­ment

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