Rangers have yet to officially declare an interest in Derek McInnes but the fate of Simon Grayson at Sunderland this week simply underlines how carefully the Aberdeen manager will consider any offer to swap stability at Pittodrie for a leap into the unknown at Ibrox.
McInnes remains the favourite to replace Pedro Caixinha but was in a similar position when the English club were looking for someone to take over from David Moyes after being relegated to the Championship in May.
Talks took place after compensation was agreed between the clubs but, despite assurances that the culture of hiring and firing managers was a thing of the past, McInnes felt he was better off staying where he was.
That decision was certainly vindicated when their second choice, Grayson, was sacked after the midweek draw at home to Bolton, just 18 games into his time in charge, leaving Sunderland chasing a tenth manager in less than a decade.
Rangers are on the verge of appointing their third this year and McInnes, who is aware of the volatility down south after his time at Bristol City, is worried that Scottish clubs in general are following the same trend.
That’s why even if Rangers do decide that he is the one they want they can’t count on convincing him to move to Ibrox being as simple as they might hope.
“It was sad to see the news about Simon. It doesn’t give any satisfaction seeing that,” said McInnes. “Simon is a good manager. He proved that before he went there and I’m sure he will prove that again elsewhere.
“It just shows you the difficulties managers have. Managers are not blameless for results, of course, but when things are as poor as that then it’s an indication that it’s more than the manager.
“It’s sad to see someone lose their job so early in the season like that but it’s clearly very difficult circumstances to be working in. I can only speak for myself and the way I felt at the time because I don’t know the ins and outs of what’s gone on there. Clearly it wasn’t going to be an easy job – you don’t get easy ones.
“My worry is that in Scotland we are in a bit of danger of becoming like it is down south. We’ve seen a third of the managers in the Premiership sacked before November and there have been a lot of casualties in the Championship and elsewhere too.
“When you work in a stable environment you usually get more opportunity to overcome a poor period but these days there seems to be more knee-jerk reactions. It’s the modern way because you can quickly get a groundswell against a manager.
“If you have a steady hand, someone who has been involved for a long time and knows the responsibilities involved, then you have a better chance. Someone like our chairman here, who knows that results can fluctuate.
“But you have others who always think there is someone better round the corner, someone to do a better job, but it helps when you have a chairman who has been through a lot worse and understands the game.
“In any walk of like it’s important to have experience, calmness and balance in certain situations. I’ve used my chairman here as an example but I do think those kind of owners are getting fewer and fewer.”
The only certainty at the moment is that McInnes will definitely be in charge when Aberdeen go to Hamilton tomorrow looking for the win that will keep them at most one point behind leaders Celtic and five ahead of Rangers.
The Dons won there in the Betfred Cup this season but lost both league matches at New Douglas Park last season and McInnes admires what Accies have done on and off the park. “I’ve been at Hamilton games and, while they don’t have the biggest support who can let you know when things are not going their way, they deserve huge credit for their perseverance and doggedness,” he said.
“They are everyone’s favourites to get relegated at the start of the season but they keep proving people wrong.
“Also for every manager who gets harshly treated and loses his job too early there are good examples of how it should be done and Hamilton and Martin Canning are one.
“The board recognised the challenges ahead and have shown stickability and you would not bet against Hamilton being a Scottish Premiership team again next season.
“That’s credit to how Hamilton operate. They have aspirations and they have realism, too.”