McGhee to stay on as Aberdeen manager

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The Independent Football

Mark McGhee will remain manager of Aberdeen following lengthy boardroom discussions over his future, the Clydesdale Bank Premier League club have confirmed.

The Aberdeen board held talks throughout the day yesterday and today after the team followed a 9-0 thrashing by Celtic with a 2-1 home defeat by Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Tuesday night.

McGhee admitted he feared for his job after the game but continued to insist he could lead the Dons out of their poor run of form, which has seen them collect four SPL points from a possible 30.

And chairman Stewart Milne today issued a statement confirming McGhee will stay in his role.

A statement on McGhee's position was expected yesterday but the talks failed to deliver an outcome after ending last night.

The discussions resumed this morning and, with Aberdeen facing a trip to Ibrox to play SPL leaders Rangers on Saturday, clarification on the manager's situation arrived this afternoon.

Milne confirmed McGhee and his assistants Scott Leitch and Colin Meldrum will remain in charge at Pittodrie.

A statement read: "Following the weekend result and the current league form, the board and Mark have taken some considerable time to reflect on where we are at present, what challenges lie ahead and the actions required to get the maximum out of not just the playing squad, but indeed everyone at the club.

"While there is a recognition that we do require to change some aspects of the way we operate, as a result of these talks, Mark's position as manager remains and he, along with everyone else at this club, is fully focused on improving results on the park.

"This has been a very difficult spell for everyone involved with Aberdeen Football Club, not least the supporters, but with a vital run of games coming up, I would urge everyone to get right behind Mark and the players moving forward."

Reports had claimed before the Inverness game that defeat would spell the end of McGhee's difficult 17-month reign but the manager denied any knowledge of such an ultimatum.

Despite the reverse, the former Dons striker claimed his players' performance against Inverness proved he had not lost the dressing room.

McGhee, whose team finished ninth in the SPL last term and were knocked out of the domestic cups by Dundee and Raith, argued there were mitigating factors surrounding their poor start to the season, notably injuries to the likes of Paul Hartley and Fraser Fyvie.

And the former Motherwell and Wolves manager remained defiant today, believing he can rectify the poor form.

"I have spent a lot of time over the past couple of days with Stewart, (director of football) Willie Miller and (managing director) Duncan Fraser and during our discussions I have formulated some plans and actions which I feel will improve things going forward," said McGhee.

"As I stated on Tuesday evening, I firmly believe me and my management team and the players will turn things round and nothing that has occurred since then has caused me to change that belief.

"I would also like to thank the fans for their continued support, not just on Tuesday evening but also the many positive messages that I've received since."

The delay over a statement suggested the board were at best split over McGhee's future or compensation was an obstacle to removing the manager from his post.

McGhee has admitted there is no money to strengthen his squad in January so it was unlikely funds were available to pay off his contract.

And he has now been granted his wish to continue, with the daunting prospect of Saturday's trip to Ibrox first up.

Defending champions Rangers lead the SPL by one point and will be looking to recover from their first loss of the season, 3-0 to Hibernian last night.

The Dons, who are currently one point and one place off the foot of the table, then host St Johnstone on November 20 and travel to Kilmarnock a week later, before another meeting with Celtic, at Pittodrie on December 4.