Every next Aberdeen manager candidate ranked as Dave Cormack eyes gold star CVs

For the second time in less than a year Aberdeen are on the hunt for a new manager.

Things turned stale after eight years of Derek McInnes and chairman Dave Cormack looked to move things in a new direction with Stephen Glass.

The former Dons player arrived with the intention of moving to a more entertaining and aesthetically pleasing style of play but things never really clicked.

Saturday’s Scottish Cup elimination ended any hope of silverware this season and ninth place in the Premiership – albeit just four points off fourth – is not good enough for a club of Aberdeen’s size and budget.

Cormack will therefore be sifting through CVs to make the second hire of his reign, and it’s one the businessman really has to get right.

Here, RecordSport ranks the names likely to be in the frame as Aberdeen get the interview process started.

Aberdeen are on the hunt for a new manager
Aberdeen are on the hunt for a new manager

7) Paul Lambert

The former Celtic midfielder, believed to be interested in the job, would once have been seen as a coup for any Scottish club but his stock has fallen in recent years.

Lambert impressed with Wycombe, Colchester and Norwich but has found things difficult since then.

Only in a salvage job at Wolves has his win percentage exceeded 40 per cent since leaving the Canaries, and he failed to get Ipswich Town out of League One in two attempts.

Lambert’s football has also come in for criticism, and would seem at odds with the aim of bringing a more progressive style to Pittodrie.

He reached the very top of the game as a player and has shown his ability in the dugout but the jury would very much be out were he to get the gig.

6) Raphael Wicky

Considered an outside bet with the bookies, Wicky has an American connection after his time with the US Under-17 team and MLS side Chicago Fire.

The Swiss won a league and cup double with Basel in 2017, and looked to implement a more possession-based style in Chicago.

Basel’s Swiss head coach Raphael Wicky looks on during a training session on the eve of the UEFA Champions League Group A football match between FC Basel and Manchester United on November 21, 2017 in Basel. / AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

However, he struggled to effect that change and drew criticism for his 3-5-2 formation being too negative.

Given that Aberdeen have just parted company with a manager with big ideas who struggled to implement them that would be a concern.

5) Neil Lennon

If you’re only looking at his CV then Lennon would be far higher up this list.

The Irishman knows Scottish football inside out from his time as both a player and manager, and he’s had some big achievements in the dugout.

Lennon won 10 trophies in two spells as Celtic manager, not to mention taking them into the Champions League knockout phase, and guided Hibs back to the Premiership and immediately into Europe.

You’re only as good as your last job though and there’s no getting away from the fact that the final season of his second Parkhead tenure was a disaster, the former midfielder stepping down in February with his team 18 points adrift in the title race.

A refreshed and fired-up Lennon could still be a force in the Premiership but his stock has failed after the failed 10 In A Row bid.

4) Jack Ross

There’s no doubting that Ross is a good manager, the question is how good?

The former defender did well at Alloa before working wonders at St Mirren, taking them from the bottom of the Championship in October 2016 to runaway champions the following season.

Things didn’t go brilliantly at Sunderland but the club has been a basket case for years and he did take them to the play-off final.

Ross then took over at Hibs and led them to third in the Premiership last season, their best finish for 16 years.

He also reached two cup finals in his time at Easter Road but was dismissed earlier this season amid criticism of the style of play in echoes of McInnes at the Dons.

With a qualified failure and a qualified success in his last two jobs, his next role will tell us a lot about Ross – but is he a fit at Pittodrie?

3) Grant McCann

An intriguing option after a somewhat harsh firing by Hull, McCann is sure to be near the top of the list.

The former Northern Ireland international took Doncaster to the play-offs, earning him the job with the Tigers.

Things didn’t get off to a good start as the Yorkshire outfit were relegated, with that run including a humiliating 8-0 loss to Wigan Athletic.

McCann helped Hull bounce back to the Championship at the first time of asking though and had them 10 points clear of the drop this season before a takeover saw him fired in favor of Shota Arveladze.

Still just 41, McCann is an up-and-comer but by no means a sure thing.

2) Jim Goodwin

He’s not a glamorous name but Goodwin has done a fine job everywhere he’s been in his nascent managerial career.

Formerly an uncompromising centre-back, he led Alloa to promotion in his first role and kept them in the Championship the following season despite their status as a part-time club.

His return to St Mirren has also gone well, with ninth and seventh placed finishes in his first two seasons.

St. Mirren Manager Jim Goodwin

The Saints currently sit sixth, just a point off a European place, and Goodwin wouldn’t have the problem of coming into Scottish football as an outsider.

He may not immediately capture the imagination of the Red Army but the Irishman could be a very shrewd appointment.

1) Kjetil Knutsen

The glamor name in the frame, the Norwegian boss would likely be the favored choice among the bulk of the fanbase.

Knutsen’s work at Bodo/Glimt has been nothing short of miraculous. The team from the Arctic Circle had finished 11th in the season before he was appointed, and hadn’t won a major trophy since 1993.

He took them to second place in 2019 before winning an improbable league title the following year, a season in which Bodo lost just one game.

Knutsen followed that up with another title in 2021, despite losing some key men, and his side demolished Roma 6-1 in the Europa League earlier this season.

Getting the better of Jose Mourinho was no fluke either, with Bodo also taking a 2-2 draw in the return at the Stadio Olimpico.

He hasn’t worked outside of Norway, and the pressure at Aberdeen would be very different, but Knutsen would be an exciting hire.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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