Aberdeen manager Barry Robson is looking forward to locking horns with his friend and mentor Derek McInnes when Kilmarnock visit Pittodrie on Saturday.
The pair have known each other since they were at Rangers together in the mid-1990s and then played together at Dundee United. When McInnes became Dons boss in 2013, he made Robson one of his first signings and then handed him a coaching role when he hung up his boots.
Robson was recently appointed Aberdeen manager until the end of the season after an encouraging six-game run as caretaker boss, while McInnes – who left Pittodrie two years ago – is currently in charge of Killie.
“The one thing about Derek McInnes is he’s a winner, and I’d probably say the same thing about myself,” said Robson. “We both want to win football matches.
“He’s a terrific football manager and I was lucky to work under him. I had an option to go away and possibly be a manager myself at that point but I made the decision to stay and learn under a top manager.
“I’ve worked under a few top managers and he’s right up there. They created a position for me (at Aberdeen) and I sat back and watched and learned from Derek.
“We all know he’s a really good manager but he’s also a really good coach. I learned loads from him. I was lucky to be able to learn from him.
“We’ve known each other a long time, we’re good friends. It’s going to be a tough game because I know how much he wants to win every game, but it’s the same here. I’m looking forward to it.”
Aberdeen have won five of their last six matches, including each of their last four to move to within a point of Hearts in the race for third place. They will have to try and maintain their impressive form without influential captain Graeme Shinnie this weekend after his late red card against St Johnstone last Saturday.
“It would be silly of me to sit here and say he’s not going to be a miss, but what an opportunity for another one of the players,” said Robson. “There are boys that have not had the game time they’d like to have.
“We’ve had quite a settled team so it’s been frustrating for me trying to get some of these guys in the team because they’ve been so good in training.
“Their application, their appetite has been outstanding, there are a lot of players bursting to get in the team. This gives someone else an opportunity but, yes, Graeme is a big miss.
“He always gives you a seven or above out of 10. He’s a leader, a winner but we’ve got a few others in the team and if we can get all the other leaders right, I’m sure we can get a good performance.”