McInnes refuses to be drawn on links to Scotland post

Derek McInnes claims most coaches would love to lead their country but the Aberdeen boss refused to be drawn on his own aspirations in the wake of Alex McLeish’s sacking as Scotland manager.

McInnes is among the bookmakers’ favourites to succeed McLeish after leading Aberdeen to four consecutive runners-up finishes in Scotland.

When asked whether the national job was an attractive prospect, the 47-year-old said: “I think it depends on where you are in your career but managing your country would have to be up there with the majority of managers as some sort of ambition at some point.

“But literally half an hour ago I found out about big Alex and I think it’s the time to show our sympathies towards him.

“Whoever goes in would be aware of the scrutiny and pressures of the job but also the rewards of the job.

“It’s that risk and reward, the reward for qualifying for a tournament would be fantastic for a manager out there and I think there’s good talent in the squad.

“This campaign isn’t over yet and that’s what I am disappointed with, that Alex has not had the chance to see it through.”

McInnes, who has turned down moves to Sunderland and Rangers in recent years, added: “There was a decision made a while ago to put Alex in charge to qualify the country for the next tournament and you would have liked to see him carry that job through. Unfortunately that’s not been the case.

“There’s been a lot of rumour and innuendo for the last wee while now so it couldn’t have been easy for him. I have a lot of sympathy for him over how this has played out in the last few weeks.

“The news that everybody seemed to know before Alex did is disappointing and we’re now looking for another manager. But my sympathies go to big Alex because he has been a true patriot, both as a player and a manager.”

When pressed on his appearance in the odds, the former St Johnstone and Bristol City manager said: “I’m not going to get drawn into that. The big fella has just lost his job and I’ve stated often enough about where I see myself being here.

“I enjoy being here, and it’s wrong of me to start talking about it when I only found out half an hour ago.”