Dundee United have asked Raith Rovers for permission to speak to Ray McKinnon about the vacant manager’s position at Tannadice but the Fife club have rejected the approach.
United made the move after Raith were knocked out of the Premiership play-offs by Hibs.
McKinnon had two spells at Tannadice as a player and has never hidden his affection for the club.
He has had an impressive season in charge of Raith, guiding them into the play-offs after finishing fourth in the Championship.
They lost 2-0 to Hibs at Easter Road on Saturday after winning the first leg of the play-off quarter-final 1-0.
Dundee United released a short statement on Saturday night which said: “Dundee United have made an official approach to Raith Rovers to seek permission to speak to their manager Ray McKinnon about the vacant managerial position at Tannadice Park.”
The Kirkcaldy club quickly announced they had rebuffed the approach from United, who will be their Championship rivals next season.
A Rovers statement read: “Dundee United FC has this evening published a statement on its website to the effect that an official approach has been made for permission to speak to Ray McKinnon about a position at Tannadice. Permission has not been granted.”
United parted company with manager Mixu Paatelainen in midweek after their relegation to the Championship was confirmed with a defeat by local rivals Dundee.
Speaking after the Hibs game, McKinnon said: “As it stands I am the Raith Rovers manager. I have another year at Raith.
“Nothing has changed. I can’t foresee the future, I would rather speak about how good my players were today.”
McKinnon has previously said he would stay with Raith if they won promotion to the Premiership.
With that dream over, the door would now appear to be open for United although Raith will clearly fight to keep their man.