Ambitious Derek McInnes wise to play the long game, says ex-Aberdeen winger Stephen Glass

Stephen Glass in action for Aberdeen, 1995 (SNS Group)
Stephen Glass in action for Aberdeen, 1995 (SNS Group)

DEREK McINNES laid bare his ambition by knocking back Sunderland, according to former Dons hero Stephen Glass.

The Black Cats manager’s job was McInnes’s for the taking after Wearside chief executive Martin Bain jetted to Florida to talk terms.

The Dons boss ended up turning down a reported three-fold wage rise to stay at Aberdeen.

But far from playing it safe, ex-Red Glass reckons Del made the bold choice by backing himself to land an even bigger gig.

“Derek deciding to stay is a huge thing for Aberdeen,” said Glass.

“It shows you what the club has got – but it shows you Derek’s ambition as well.

“Not to jump at the first opportunity is rare these days.

“Obviously he has spoken to Sunderland, heard what they had to say, what they would offer him financially, then decided to say no to them.

“For whatever reason, he hasn’t liked the whole package and felt he was better off staying at Aberdeen. That suggests to me that he believes he can get a better offer – and he has certainly earned the right to believe that.

“You would imagine he has been given assurances that he will be backed financially at Aberdeen.

“He clearly believes that he can continue to get improvements under those circumstances, which, again, shows his ambition.

“Now it’s about finding replacements for some of the guys that have gone – and I think he can do it successfully.”

McInnes will be rewarded for his loyalty this summer with the biggest transfer budget of his time at Pittodrie.

Investment from computing tycoon Dave Cormack, who sold his software firm for £630m last year, means Aberdeen are in rude financial health.

Shaun Maloney is among McInnes’ targets as he seeks to replace departed stars Jonny Hayes, Niall McGinn and Ryan Jack.

And Glass believes the Dons boss has more than earned his opportunity to splash the cash.

“It’s there for Derek to have a real go at it,” said the former Aberdeen, Hibs and Newcastle United star.

“Not to go and splash crazy money around, but to use the increased funds he does have wisely.

“Looking at what he has done in the market over his entire spell at Pittodrie, you’d have to believe that’s the way he’ll go about it.

“The club will be over the moon that they’ve got a bit more money to spend than in previous years.

“But I think they’ll be even happier that they’ve hung on to the guy they want to spend it. They have lost three players who have been fantastic for Aberdeen under Derek McInnes.

“But that in itself – the fact that these guys have enjoyed the best spells of their career, got international recognition, and then earned big moves – will make the club a more attractive proposition for new players.

“Again, that is down to the work Derek has done since taking over.

“He has been fantastic – and if the board give him the cash he needs this summer, I’m sure he will continue to do good work.”