ABERDEEN have knocked back Rangers’ approach for manager Derek McInnes – but the Ibrox club are not ready to give up.

Rangers have made the 46-year-old their number one target to replace Pedro Caixinha.

But while their first offer has been rejected by Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne, it is understood that Rangers will not be dissuaded and will make another attempt to lure McInnes back to Glasgow.

McInnes is reported to have an £800,000 release clause written into his Aberdeen deal but it is understood the clubs have yet to discuss compensation terms.

What is clear is that Milne is determined not to lose the manager to his club’s main rivals for second place.

In a terse statement released shortly after 7pm yesterday, Aberdeen 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 just two days after claiming their second victory of the week over Aberdeen.

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 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 player 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.

“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.”