Aberdeen are ready to fight to keep Derek McInnes if Premiership rivals Rangers come calling for the manager.
McInnes is the Ibrox club’s number one target to replace Pedro Caixinha who was axed last week following a disastrous reign lasting just seven months.
Rangers have yet to make contact with the Dons regarding McInnes but Pittodrie is braced for any official approach.
Although McInnes is the bookmakers’ favourite, Rangers director of football Mark Allen has been tasked with compiling a comprehensive list of managerial options and their costs.
Allen will then deliver his findings to the Ibrox board and chairman Dave King.
McInnes will be high on that list, but the Ibrox board will weigh up all options before deciding whether or not to trigger the release clause on McInnes’ contract.
McInnes turned down a move to Championship side Sunderland in the summer before signing a one-year contract extension until 2020.
Aberdeen fought to retain McInnes when the Black Cats came calling in June, and Pittodrie sources confirmed they are ready to fight again if Rangers make their move for the 46-year-old.
If the Dons’ doomsday scenario arrives where McInnes is lured to Rangers, sources indicate the Dons will fight for the largest compensation package they can, which could be up to £1.5 million.
McInnes has refused to be drawn on speculation linking him to the Rangers position.
He has led Aberdeen to second in the Premiership with the Dons just one point behind defending champions Celtic.
Other potential candidates for the Rangers position include former Newcastle and Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew. The 56-year-old’s representatives are understood to have been in contact with Rangers to indicate his interest in the position.
Dutch legend Frank de Boer, who played at Rangers in 2004, has also been linked with the position.
Former Ajax boss De Boer, 46, was axed by Crystal Palace earlier this season after a disastrous run of form.
Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill is also in the frame while interim coach Graeme Murty, who led Rangers to a 3-1 win over Hearts, has also insisted the permanent role would be tough to turn down.
Meanwhile, attacker Ryan Christie is set to be fit to face Hamilton on Saturday after struggling with a knee injury recently.
The on-loan Celtic attacker netted the equaliser in the 2-1 defeat of Ross County at the weekend.
McInnes said: “Ryan was struggling and had to get a wee injection on a knee on Friday to play against Ross County.
“Ryan’s knee was a bit painful towards the end but he will be feeling good about himself after scoring a fantastic goal.
“It showed what Ryan is capable of and how important he is to us.
“Ryan will be fine once we settle that knee down a little bit.”
Aberdeen have a clean bill of health for the Premiership trip to the artificial surface at Hamilton.
McInnes said: “Everyone is good.
“We rested a couple (against Ross County) and got minutes into some who would maybe feel they have not been contributing a lot recently.
“They will have gone away from the game feeling good about themselves.
“Celtic (3-0 loss) was a real sobering night for us all.
“After that it is just important you go and win the next game.
“The players were absolutely terrific in the days before the game and came bouncing in on Saturday to get the job done.
“It is no more than we expect of them. They will have been disappointed but they still have to go out there and perform.”
Meanwhile, Aberdeen duo Scott McKenna and Scott Wright have been named in the Scotland Under-21 squad for an upcoming Euro Championship qualifier double header at McDiarmid Park, Perth.
Scot Gemmill’s side face Latvia on Friday, November 10, and Ukraine the following Tuesday.