Derek McInnes set for showdown talks with Aberdeen as Rangers prepare second approach for manager
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes has missed training and will have discussions with his club chairman after Rangers' first approach to speak to the boss was rejected.
Gers have made their 46-year-old former midfield servant their No.1 target to replace Pedro Caixinha.
But while their first offer has been rejected by the Dons, Rangers will not be dissuaded and will make another attempt to lure McInnes back to Glasgow, possibly as early as today (Wednesday).
And now BBC Scotland have reported that McInnes has missed training and will have talks with club chairman Stewart Milne.
McInnes - whose side lost twice to the Gers last week - is reported to have an £800,000 release clause but it is understood the clubs have yet to discuss compensation terms.
What is clear is that Milne is determined not to lose his boss to his club's main rivals for second place in the Scottish Premier League.
In a terse statement last night, the Dons said: "Aberdeen Football Club has announced this evening that Rangers have contacted the club asking for permission to speak to Derek McInnes and that permission has been refused."
Caixinha was sacked six weeks ago and Rangers finally made their move for McInnes two days after claiming their second victory of the week over Aberdeen, 2-1 on Sunday.
The protracted recruitment process and associated rumour mill has frustrated the former St Johnstone and Bristol City manager.
After Sunday's 2-1 defeat in the Granite City, McInnes admitted his annoyance that speculation linking him to the Govan vacancy had been allowed to "drag on and on".
Meanwhile, the Ibrox squad are readying themselves to prove they deserve to play a part in the club's future, according to midfielder Jason Holt.
The former Hearts battler forced himself back into the line-up under caretaker boss Graeme Murty but knows he will have to justify his involvement again once a new manager is appointed.
"It's great to be back in the team playing every week and helping the boys," he said as the Rangers players made their annual Christmas visit to the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow. "It's not just been myself, the whole squad have enjoyed working under Graeme.
"Graeme came in to help us all out and we've given him 100 per cent. But as for a new manager, everyone will be playing to prove that they deserve to be in the team."
Rangers' back-to-back wins over Aberdeen have pushed them up to second spot but they now return to the task of winning three games on the bounce - a feat they have not managed since last December.
"The last two results have been really good for the club but it's about pushing on now and building on it," added Holt.
"We won't get carried away. It's only two games we have won and now we need to build on that as we've shown this season and last that consistency has been a problem for us."
Kenny Miller also insists Rangers have to build on their back-to-back wins.
Miller said: "Going into the last week it was a real opportunity for us to put a couple of big results, big performances, down.
"Fortunately we can look back and say it was a good week for us, it could easily have gone the other way.
"We were really determined going into last Wednesday's game that we were going to gain ground on Aberdeen in second spot, and hopefully if we got the right results over the course of the two games we would find ourselves in second spot on Sunday night. We found ourselves there so we are absolutely delighted to get the results.
"We must build on it now, we must go on to Saturday with the same purpose, the same intensity, and make sure we get the win.
"These big games you win, you can only really take pleasure if you can back them up with good results at home, so against Ross County on Saturday it is important we back it up."