Joe Miller on McInnes: I was at Reds when Ferguson left for United … Aberdeen need to have a plan B

Aberdeen Boss Alex Ferguson is held high by his players after their Gothenburg triumph in 1983.

Pittodrie legend Joe Miller today insisted the Dons must have a plan B ready to implement if manager Derek McInnes leaves.

Joe Miller was at Pittodrie when the Dons last lost a manager to another club, Alex Ferguson to Manchester United in November 1986.

It took the Reds 13 days to appoint Ian Porterfield as Fergie’s replacement.

The future of the current Aberdeen boss is still unclear.

He met with chairman Stewart Milne yesterday for talks following Milne rejecting an approach from Rangers on Tuesday evening requesting to speak to McInnes.

The Ibrox club have finally made their interest concrete after six weeks of speculation linking McInnes to a return to the club he played for between 1995 to 2000.

Miller reckons that is more than enough time for the Reds to scope out a potential replacement for McInnes should he leave the Granite City.

Especially when the Reds were also hit with the threat of losing their manager in the summer, when Sunderland reached an agreement over compensation to talk to him.

McInnes rejected the Black Cats then, but it remains to be seen what will happen this time.

Miller, who made more than 200 Dons appearances, said: “Aberdeen have got to be working on that Plan B and I am sure Stewart Milne has been. There will also be a lot of people will throw their hat into the ring for the Aberdeen job if it becomes available.

“It could now be back to the drawing board for Aberdeen, when they have had a bit of stability under Derek.

“He has not had a massive budget to work with, but his record at Aberdeen is fantastic. Under Derek, the fans and club are happy as there is a good brand of football being played.

“He’s got them into cup finals and regularly secured second spot, so Aberdeen have every right to try to hold on to him.”

Pittodrie chairman Milne is understood to be furious at the protracted nature of Rangers’ interest in McInnes. When they finally ended six weeks of speculation by making an official approach via a telephone call on Tuesday night at around 6pm, he quickly denied permission to talk to McInnes.

The chairman and manager were locked in talks yesterday with McInnes and assistant Tony Docherty opting not to take the scheduled training session at Balgownie Barracks.

Coach Barry Robson and U20 boss Paul Sheerin oversaw the training.

Miller, 49, reckons, if the debt-free Reds are so desperate to retain their only manager to deliver a trophy in more than two decades, they should really push the boat out and splash the cash.

He said: “If Aberdeen want to keep Derek then they should say we will better the deal.

“It is time to say that, whatever he is going to get (at Rangers), they will better that deal – that they would also give him a bigger budget to work with.

“Aberdeen also have to fight for him and, if they want to hold onto him that badly, offer a better deal and budget.”

During his near five years at Pittodrie, McInnes delivered a League Cup in 2014, two further cup finals (lost), three successive runners-up finishes and European action for four straight seasons.

Miller, who won the Scottish Cup (1985-86) and League Cup (1995-96) during two separate spells at Pittodrie, reckons McInnes’ success has put him in a powerful bargaining position. He said: “It has all been down to Derek in the last few years, getting to cup finals and increasing the attendances.

“Derek had moved into a very good position in that he had become sought after.

“Ultimately, the decision is down to him.”

The ultimate target of the new Rangers manager will be to prevent Celtic securing an historic 10 in a row.

Pressure will be immense to deliver, but Miller reckons McInnes will be well aware of what he would be entering into. He said: “With Rangers there is the issue of whether there going to be sustainability in the long term. There is also the matter of the budget and what realms the next manager will have to work in. A lot of pressure comes with the Rangers job, at both of the Glasgow clubs, but Derek knows that from his playing days at Ibrox.

“There will also be the factor of whether he gets the budget he needs. Aberdeen are a safe bet though. It took a long time for an approach, but you just don’t know what goes on at Rangers anymore.

“It is all right being wanted but it also means he has to turn his back on Aberdeen, the club that gave him an opportunity. He will also have had a good working relationship with people up there. It is a case of turning his back on that or staying.”

McInnes’ exit would be the first time a Dons manager has left for another club since Fergie 31 years ago.

“There was a transitional period after Alex Ferguson left and the new manager was appointed,” explained Miller.