Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes insists he is at Pittodrie for the long haul after Scottish Premiership sponsor Ladbrokes sparked speculation he was set to leave the club.
The bookmaker announced on Wednesday it had stopped taking bets on the McInnes becoming the next top-flight manager to lose his club, prompting Aberdeen to issue a statement denying a change of manager was imminent at Pittodrie.
McInnes also received several calls and text messages asking if the speculation he was leaving was true but, having in June signed a new long-term deal to keep him at Pittodrie until 2019, the Dons manager moved to reassure supporters he is staying yesterday.
He said: “I’m not saying I’m 100% watertight but I am in a secure position here.
“I have a good chairman who I’m tight with, I have players on long-term contracts and I have the staff in who I wanted. We have everything in place here for the long term.
“It’s my players, it’s my staff – this is my club because I’ve committed to a four-year deal.”
It is not the first time a Scottish manager has come under scrutiny this season by the bookmakers, with Caley Thistle manager John Hughes finding himself in the same position as McInnes last week when it was announced bets were no longer being accepted on him becoming the new Dundee United manager.
Press and Journal columnist Alex Smith has called on the bookies to stop giving odds on the sack race and McInnes believes action needs to be taken to protect the men in charge of clubs throughout the country.
McInnes said: “I am in a strong position but there was still enough to cast doubt on that.
“So, it must be more difficult for guys who are going through real difficult times and have the spotlight on them.
“I think Alex Smith was right in what he said about these betting markets.
“It’s difficult to stop because if it wasn’t Ladbrokes it would be another company.
“But Alex was right to speak out on behalf of the managers because the job is difficult enough. The whole thing has to be addressed and spoken about across the board.
“I’m not the only one to get it – it was Jackie McNamara, Gary Locke, Alan Archibald and Ian Baraclough in previous weeks.
“It brings an unnecessary spotlight and pressure on managers. They should be working with us.
“Surely, a good sponsorship is about working together to make things better?”
The speculation has dominated the build-up to tonight’s league match at Ross County and McInnes is eager to get the focus back on events on the field after an eventful 48 hours.
The Dons manager said: “Jim McIntyre’s form with Ross County has been outstanding since the turn of the year and they are formidable opponents.
“We played Ross County here last season and won 4-0, really comfortably. At that time they looked all over the place, so the work they have done to get them to where they are is incredible.
“They are a formidable side now. It’s a really tough game but if we can get 27 points from 33 in the first round of matches we will be delighted. We would have taken that at the start of the season.”