Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes has been given a vote of confidence by the Dons board.
The Dons boss has been under pressure from a section of Red Army following Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Hibernian, which left the club five points adrift of the Easter Road outfit in the race for third place.
McInnes faced questions about his future at the weekend, but he retains the backing of chairman Dave Cormack and will be in the dugout for this weekend’s Premiership game against St Mirren at Pittodrie.
The Dons have slipped down the table after a run of one win in the last eight league matches, but, with 11 matches remaining, McInnes will be given the chance to revive the team’s fortunes.
A statement from Cormack said: “Following speculation around the manager’s position, Derek and I met on Sunday and discussed the team’s poor run of form since the turn of the year.
“From my personal perspective there is no doubting Derek’s continued desire to drive success for the Club. Having qualified for Europe seven seasons in a row, and with a healthy 54% win-rate over almost 400 games in charge, it’s important that Derek focuses on integrating last week’s three new signings, and getting the team back to winning ways. The coaching staff have had only one full day’s training with Fraser Hornby and Callum Hendry, whilst Florian Kamberi will hopefully arrive in the next few days.
“The board met today and are fully behind Derek getting us back on track, as he’s demonstrated countless times over his eight year tenure. We’re at the business end of the season and we still have 33 points to play for. It’s critical that we all get behind Derek and the team as we strive for the best possible league finish and qualify for European football once again.”
Cormack extolled the virtues of his manager at the club’s annual meeting in December, but made it clear qualifying for Europe remains a key target for the club this season and qualification – which McInnes has achieved in every season he has been Pittodrie gaffer – is crucial to the Dons’ operational budget.
At the time, Cormack said: “Next year if you get Champions League, even the qualifying rounds, you get knocked out of that and you go into the third round of qualifying for the Europa League.
“If you go out of that you have one round to get to the group stages of the Conference.
“Every incentive is there for us. We’ve got a good squad and a great bunch of lads and if we keep people fit and healthy we will do okay.”
A week ago, Aberdeen retained hopes of catching Celtic for second place, but the Hoops have moved 11 points clear of the Dons and it is Hibs who are now the prime focus after moving five clear of McInnes’ men.
Clearly, dispersing with the services of McInnes and his track record of annual qualification at this stage of the campaign would represent a major risk for the Dons and one which the board is not considering taking at this stage.
However, the Aberdeen manager and his players know results must improve if the Dons are to reel in a Hibs side who have bounced back from their own poor run by winning their last three matches at a time when their rivals have picked up just one point in a goalless draw at Livingston.
The Dons boss, who brought in three new strikers on deadline day last Monday, will be given more time to show he can deliver.