Derek McInnes has backed Liam Fox to make a return to management sooner rather than later after his departure from Dundee United. 

The rookie boss mutually parted ways with the Tannadice club on Sunday night with the club rock bottom of the Premiership table.  

The Tangerines are four points behind both Kilmarnock and Ross County. And Killie manager McInnes believes Fox has the tools to equip himself for a better crack in his next role.  

The highly experienced coach also reckons Steven Hammell will be in a similar position, following his recent sacking at Motherwell. 

McInnes said: “All managers are looking for stability. We all feel we operate better with stability. 

“But there’s no guarantee of that. It’s difficult when you see people in the game you like losing their job. 

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“Obviously Stevie, who I didn’t know so well, lost his job a few weeks ago and sometimes that first job is a big ask when you’re thrown in at it. People at Motherwell thought a lot of him and rightly so - but it hasn’t worked out. 

“Liam is another one who has been part of people’s staff. I remember Liam played in a reserve game (for Hearts) against my young Aberdeen team. 

“He was an over-age player but was in there encouraging and being a senior pro, making demands and barking instructions. 

“I remember speaking to Craig Levein, who said he thought he had a good coaching career ahead of him. That was the plan for Liam but when you’re asked to be the manager and step forward, you don’t say no to that. 

“To be the third manager in such a short space of time at a big club like Dundee United, that’s not an ideal scenario. It’s normally more than a manager. I think he’s wise enough, smart enough and good enough to go again. As Stevie will as well. 

“I think there will be another opportunity. There will be a bit of soul searching. You’ve got to have an honest assessment of your time in charge. But then you move on and there will be other opportunities. 

“There’s no doubt about it. Both boys have got a good reputation, both don’t fall short in their work ethic and how they want to play the game. Sometimes it happens like it has, though. Then you’re looking for that stability and confidence above you to see things through.  

“There’s not a manager out there who doesn’t go through tough times. Sometimes you end up losing your job, other times people stand by you and you get your rewards for that.” 

McInnes side’ are right in the midst of the top flight’s relegation battle. Killie travel to Rangers this weekend knowing that most won’t envisage them picking up anything at Ibrox – especially with their horrific away form. 

For McInnes and his players, though, that can’t be the attitude the take into the match with only 11 games left to play. 

“Whether Rangers had won or lost at Hampden, this was always going to be a difficult game for us. It’s in a different competition and I’m sure they’ll be disappointed after Sunday,” McInnes explained, as he revealed that no more of his squad will exit for a lower league loan this term. “They’ll be looking for a response to that and they’d been in good form under Michael, picking up some good results. 

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“They’d shown more of an attacking threat in recent weeks and, although that wasn’t the case in the final, that was mainly due to the level of the opponent they were up against. Celtic made them defend a lot more. 

“It’s important for me that we show some confidence and try and impose ourselves on the game. We can’t take Rangers on in a possession-based game – not many teams can, domestically – but what we can do is make sure that when we surrender the ball, we do it in the right areas. 

“It would be a great point but you never set up just to get a point. The message is always you have to be good enough to go win the game. 

“There’s three points available like every other week. But in the context of our away form, nobody is backing us to get anymore than a point. I know what it’s like, they’ll be thinking that we’re getting nothing there, so if we can get something then all the better.”