Ross County manager John Hughes has thrown his backing behind Aberdeen counterpart Derek McInnes following growing pressure from the Dons support.
County defeated the Reds 4-1 in Dingwall on Saturday, in a result which saw Aberdeen drop to fourth place after winning just three of their last 11 matches in all competitions.
A section of the Dons support has vented their frustration towards McInnes, with banners being displayed outside Pittodrie calling for his near eight-year reign to end.
Hughes has urged dissenting voices to be careful what they wish for, having been impressed by McInnes’ consistency in qualifying for Europe for the last seven seasons and regularly reaching the latter stages of cup competitions.
Hughes said: “Watch for what you wish for. Derek has been very good and very consistent.
“Aberdeen beat my Inverness team in the final of the League Cup.
“Since then if you look at the consistency of league position, every year they have been third or fourth. Every year they have been in semi finals and finals.
“That’s what you’re expecting, and that’s what I would expect if I was Aberdeen manager and to always be knocking on the door too.
“Derek does that. I regard him as good friend as well. That’s football, it’s just the noise that’s outside football, but sometimes I just think you have to put the reins on it and be more realistic.”
A further layer of frustration has come from Aberdeen’s inability to make further ground on second-placed Celtic, who have endured a stuttering campaign but remain six points ahead of the Dons with a game in hand.
McInnes was the last manager to split the Old Firm in 2018, and Hughes feels the Pittodrie boss will still be intent on piling the pressure on the teams above them.
Hughes added: “We are talking about Celtic and Rangers, and whether you can split the Old Firm. That’s what everybody is banging on about.
“I’m quite sure Derek is up for the challenge. If that’s what is in front of you, you have to embrace it and take it on board.”