DEREK McInnes is set to get first refusal on the job of Rangers manager.
With funds understood to have been found by the Ibrox club to deal with the compensation issue, the Aberdeen manager could move as early as this week.
Director of Football Mark Allen has assembled a list of possible candidates to succeed Pedro Caixinha, who was sacked on Thursday.
But it is very much headed by McInnes.
He signed a new, three-year deal at Pittodrie in the summer, and the Dons could be looking for as much as £1.5m in compensation should Rangers swoop and McInnes decide Ibrox is for him.
After steering the Dons to a 2-1 win over Ross County, McInnes said: “My focus was just on today’s game.
“I’m happy to deal with speculation, but it has never come to anything in the past.
“My players and my staff’s focus was clear today in terms of trying to win the game.
“I’m not really wanting to comment too much as I would rather talk about the great response we got after the other night.
“I don’t think it’s hard for players when there’s other talk in the background. Having been a player myself, it was always about your own professional pride.
“We’re well used to speculation here, whether it’s about our players or whether it’s about myself.
“We have dealt with that in the past and we’ll continue to deal with that.”
Should McInnes turn Rangers down, as he did with Sunderland, don’t rule interim boss Graeme Murty out of the running.
That was the conclusion to be drawn after a win over Hearts yesterday under his charge that could scarcely have gone any better.
“I will sit in front of you guys and prep the team until I am told otherwise,” he said.
“It’s a fantastic honour and a real pleasure to work with players like this, who take tactical and technical instruction really well and then go and deploy it once they go onto a football pitch.”
But would he take the job permanently?
Murty replied: “I would find it difficult to turn it down, but I didn’t come north of the border to become Rangers manager.
“I came to further my career and concentrate on being excellent and improving every day.
“Where I end up will be a consequence of my personal standards on a day-to-day basis.
“I’ve got to say I didn’t enjoy this game as much as I enjoyed the previous ones.
“But the feeling at the end – the collective euphoria of gaining a good result for the football club – is something you never want to lose.”
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