Derek McInnes would not be human had doubts not swirled in his mind following his decision to turn down the opportunity to talk to Rangers.
He knew what some people were saying: you don’t get a second chance to manage a club like Rangers. It’s never the wrong time to walk through those ornate wrought-iron gates.
He might also be alert to what critics reckoned it said about him. Having also snubbed Sunderland in June, would he now be cast as someone afraid of a challenge? He was also likely worried about how Aberdeen fans might treat him following what some interpreted as his decision to abandon his team for two days in the run-up to a crucial fixture.
But any anxiety would surely have melted away at shortly before 10pm on Thursday night. That’s when he would have read – or at least heard about – a statement that managed to avoid even referring to him by name. Not that this was the worst of it.
Rangers’ latest statement meant the spotlight swung in the direction of the Ibrox club. The release succeeded in uniting even the warring factions on social media in being roundly ridiculed. But more seriously, as far as Rangers are concerned at least, it raised the question of who would want to work for an enterprise happy to sign off such an infantile press release? Not McInnes, he can now happily, and confidently, conclude.
At a time when hastily compiled compendiums do so well, perhaps the Ibrox club should consider publishing a Christmas special full of these bulletins.
The latest was a masterwork and could only have soothed the soul of McInnes were he still fretting about knocking back the chance to manage Rangers, the club he played for and supported. But then the Rangers he played for was a different club. That’s not a deliberately provocative comment.
It’s just they were a club that whatever their faults, whatever their cavalier approach to finances, would surely not consent to such a statement being circulated around media outlets in their name. Neither would it have been published on an official website.
The photograph above the five-paragraph statement, capturing the Bill Struth main stand in its red brick glory, was presumably meant to convey stability and, well, dignity. But this was stripped away within five paragraphs of desperate backtracking. As Michael Stewart wrote on Twitter, it was a “jilted lover’s response”.
We were informed McInnes’ decision to remain with Aberdeen was one Rangers were happy to “endorse”. For the club were unsure whether he was in fact up to the task of managing a “massive club like Rangers”. This is despite weeks of speculation linking him with the Ibrox club and the fact Rangers made an official approach to speak to McInnes on Tuesday night.
Another ill-judged, unnecessary jibe was delivered in a subsequent paragraph, which includes the promise that Rangers “will only appoint someone in whom we have full confidence and who feels he is ready for the job”.
And this is all before we even mention “concomitant”, a word included towards the end, it seems, in an attempt to stifle the sniggering for as long as it takes to fetch a dictionary.
It’s little wonder McInnes chose to remain at Aberdeen and leave Rangers to search for someone with the “correct qualities” to lead a club such as theirs. He could have penned his own response, were he so inclined, one just two words long: “Good luck.”