Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes today warned the best has yet to come after racking up a 100th league win quicker than legend Sir Alex Ferguson.
The 1-0 win over Dundee at Dens Park on Friday saw McInnes go ton up in league wins faster than any other Aberdeen manager.
It has taken McInnes 174 league games to secure that century of Premiership wins.
Last week it balanced precariously on whether McInnes’ run would end on 99 as he pondered his future.
Rangers made an official request for permission to talk to McInnes about their vacant managerial position which was promptly rejected by Pittodrie chairman Stewart Milne.
McInnes missed two days of training to ponder his future before deciding to stay at the Dons where he is contracted until summer 2020.
Now 100-not-out McInnes is determined to rapidly add to that return, starting at St Johnstone tomorrow, as the Reds chase down Rangers who tenuously hold second spot on goal difference only.
On registering the 100th league win, McInnes said: “That is an indication of good, solid work from different squads over the last few years.
“It is a good milestone to get, and I was keen to get it a bit quicker than we did (Aberdeen lost the previous two games to Rangers, home and away).
“We have that 100th league win now and hopefully players can take confidence from that going into some tough games in December.”
The Dons emerged from a slump in form that ran concurrent with speculation linking Rangers to McInnes, with a win at Dens Park.
Prior to the trip to Dundee, the Dons had taken just four points from the previous 15.
Regardless of that slump Aberdeen are joint second in the Premiership on 33 points after 17 games.
That is just two points less than McInnes’ side registered in the opening 17 games in the season they pushed Ronny Deila’s Celtic hard for the Premiership title in 2015-16.
McInnes restructured the Reds during the summer and insisted they have yet to find their mojo – but it will come.
He said: “We still feel there is more to come from us.
“We have not hit any of the heights yet, and there are better performances to come from us.”
McInnes also registered a better managerial record in his first 100 games in charge of the Dons than the club’s greatest ever boss Fergie.
Gothenburg Great Sir Alex secured 47 wins in his first 100 games at the Reds helm while McInnes registered 57 in his opening ton as manager.
Ferguson delivered the league title in 1980 during that period. McInnes was managing at a time when Rangers were out of the top flight for four seasons and Hearts, Hibs and Dundee United have all been absent for a season or more. However, that should not underplay McInnes’ achievement. It is one of the reasons Rangers were so keen on securing him as manager.
McInnes has led the Dons to runners-up finishes for three successive seasons and launched a sustained title challenge two seasons ago.
The upcoming festive fixture schedule will be pivotal to the Premiership campaign with five games packed in between now and the winter break at the end of the month.
McInnes is ready to utilise his squad during that period where they face St Johnstone (a), Hibs (h), Celtic (a), Partick Thistle (h) and Hearts (h).
He said: “The squad is important as there are boys there who have not had a lot of game time and it is difficult to make sure they feel important themselves.
“They will come in and play their part, I am sure of that.”
The build-up to what would ultimately become McInnes’ 100th league match win was clouded in uncertainty until almost 24 hours before kick-off.
U20 coach Paul Sheerin had taken training for two straight days and was ready to take the Reds at Dens Park if needed. He was even put up at the press conference to preview the match.
Ultimately, his presence wasn’t needed as confirmation came around 6pm on Thursday that McInnes was staying.
He had been in constant dialogue with Sheerin regarding training and the Reds’ preparation for the trip to Dundee. Ultimately McInnes utilised his squad at Dens Park on Friday when he substituted rising teen star Frank Ross with experienced Icelandic international defender Kari Arnason at half-time.
Ross had earned a start by virtue of his strong shift as a substitute in the 2-1 loss to Rangers and a superb free-kick goal. The 19-year-old’s substitution was tactical.
McInnes said: “We felt Dundee would go with the same shape as they did against Ross County.
“So we felt we didn’t really need a defensive midfielder in there.
“Once they changed their shape we certainly did as it was like a game of basketball.
“We took Arnason on at half-time and put Anthony forward to give us a bit more control in midfield.
“That was key to us winning the second half and it was far less dramatic for us.
“Once we got the goal we saw the game out.”