Derek McInnes insists the time is not right for him and the Scotland job but the moment could be right for Steve Clarke.
Considered one of the top contenders for the national team job after Alex McLeish’s departure, McInnes and the Aberdeen heirarchy this week stated that there is still a job for him to do at Pittodrie.
That appears to pave the way for the Scottish FA to approach Clarke, who has transformed Kilmarnock’s fortunes from being perennial relegation fighters to European contenders.
Scotland have European Championship qualifiers against Cyprus and Belgium next month and the new manager would ideally be in place for that double-header. Sunderland manager Jack Ross, former Everton and Manchester United boss David Moyes and under-21 coach Scot Gemmill are also believed to have been considered.
McInnes, who admitted discussions will take place with chairman Stewart Milne regarding a new contract, is not ready to give up on club management yet.
He said: “I reiterate what the chairman said. I see myself as a club manager and I want to continue being a club manager. I’m not one for ‘you need to be a certain age to manage your country.’ I don’t believe that is the case.
“I do think you need to be a certain type to give up club management and go and take it on and of course if anyone ever asked me in future if I wanted to be Scotland manager that’s something I would always consider and something I do see for myself in future. But for now I see myself as a club manager and I can see myself as an Aberdeen manager and I’m just not in a position at this stage of my career where I see myself giving up that day to day involvement. I would like to continue to get more from club management if I could.
“It (Aberdeen) was supposed to be a poisoned chalice where a lot of good managers had come and gone but I wasn’t scared of it then and I’m not scared of it now.
“I feel as though we can put together a squad that can get me that reward and I work for a very good person in Stewart Milne who has been more than a chairman to me. You don’t give up these type of relationships easily in life.”
McInnes and Clarke will compete for the final European spot this weekend, with Kilmarnock hosting Rangers at Rugby Park and the Dons going to Easter Road to face Hibernian on Sunday. Killie hold the advantage on third spot on goal-difference, in what may well be Clarke’s final game in charge.
He added: “I think he will be a very good manager if that’s who the SFA go for. Anybody can have a good run over two or three months where you can get a bit of momentum going and confidence in the team.
“But over the course of the last 18 months having to deal with transfer windows, injuries to players and managing the team you can see that there’s been good work done at Kilmarnock. The team looks well coached and you can see the confidence the management team give their players and for me that’s more then enough.
“That’s a sustained period that puts more than a bit of evidence that it is a good manager working and that’s how I feel about it.”