Aberdeen caretaker boss Peter Leven has revealed sacked boss Barry Robson said an emotional farewell to players and staff at Cormack Park.
Robson was axed on Wednesday after showdown talks with the Pittodrie hierarchy following a 1-1 draw with Dundee.
Leven revealed Robson hugged the players and staff and told them he loved them – then urged them to “keep fighting”.
He also advised Leven to enjoy his time as interim Aberdeen boss and said he is available any time if he needs advice.
The axe fell on Robson and assistant Steve Agnew just days after marking a year in the managerial post.
Aberdeen are now searching for an experienced manager, having previously gone down the rookie route with Robson and Stephen Glass.
First-team coach Leven, assisted by Scott Anderson, will be in the dugout to lead Aberdeen against Celtic at Pittodrie on Saturday.
Leven, 40, says he has urged the Dons to “be brave” against the Premiership leaders.
He said: “Barry came in and said I love you all, keep fighting and if you ever need anything I am always here for you.
“He and Aggers (Steve Agnew) both came in and hugged everyone.
“It shows what people they are that they came in and did that.
“Barry was here as a player, part of the youth development and then first-team manager.
“This place has so much respect for him and also Aggers for the work they have done here and in the game.
“There is also huge respect for them for the way they handled it by coming in and speaking to everyone.
“It has been a difficult few days – everyone is sad to see them go.
“I spoke to Barry and Aggers, too, when they came in.
“Barry told me to enjoy it and also said he is there for me if I ever need any advice.
“He said: ‘Don’t worry about it, you’re a great coach and the players respect you.'”
No timescale given to Leven on time as interim boss
Warnock, 75, is available, having left Huddersfield in September last year.
A short-term interim appointment is thought to be likely, as it would allow the Dons the time to source and appoint a permanent long-term manager in the summer.
With the Dons hoping for more clarity on their managerial situation next week, Leven said: “I have just been told to take the team for now.
“And I’m only looking at it game-to-game, nothing more than that.”
Leven has one-to-ones with players
Robson ultimately paid the price for poor league form, with the Dons languishing eighth in the Premiership with just six wins from 21 fixtures.
Aberdeen are now searching for a fifth manager in under three years as Jim Goodwin (January 2023), Stephen Glass (February 2022) and Derek McInnes (March 2021) were all axed.
Leven revealed he has spent the last few days having one-t0-ones with players to clarify exactly what he needs.
He said: “What I have done is a lot of one-to-ones, find out how everyone is feeling and make sure we’re training well.
“I have a good relationship with the players, so that helps.
“I’ve spoken to a lot of the players individually to tell them what is expected of them.
“We have a great dressing-room with the likes of Graeme Shinnie and Jonny Hayes, and others, who police the thing themselves.
“They drive the standards every day and I can rely on them for that.
“Although the players are sad to see the manager and Aggers go, the feeling around the place is good building up to the Celtic game.
“We know there’s a job to be done and they’re eager to get out there playing again.”