Dundee United caretaker coach Laurie Ellis has been told to take the team again as the club continues its search for a permanent manager.
As the saga has toed and froed this week, Ellis has been concentrating on getting the players ready for what is a vital clash against Championship leaders St Mirren at Tannadice tomorrow.
Just as he did successfully against Dumbarton last weekend, the United assistant will pick the team and be on the touchline when they kick-off against the Buddies.
Even if United chairman Stephen Thompson and his directors finally get around to making a decision – former Hearts boss Csaba Laszlo remains the favourite – Ellis will still be in charge for what will be his second game as interim gaffer.
Ellis, who was Ray McKinnon’s number two, said: “I’ve spoken to the chairman most days, if not every day, and he has kept me posted.
“I don’t know the details of things and, to be honest, I have removed myself from that.
“I don’t need to know.
“What I do need to know is that, on a day-to-day basis and unless I am told otherwise, I’m taking things towards the game on Saturday.
“That has not changed.
“We have tried to keep things normal and limit the distraction because it will be distracting for the players.
“They will be wondering who is coming in and asking: ‘Is the manager going to be watching the game? Am I in the team or not? How’s the new manager going to think?’
“There could be distractions but we can’t allow that to happen,” he added.
“We’ve got a really important game at the weekend for Dundee United.
“That group of players through there is a professional group.
“On that very first Monday morning last week, after I had to take training, I made it clear it was important for them to realise their responsibilities.
“So it doesn’t matter who is in temporary charge, it doesn’t matter who is taking training and it doesn’t matter who is picking the team. They’ve got responsibilities to each other and to the club.
“They need to perform well and be professional and to make sure the new manager coming gets a glowing reference about them from all the coaching staff.”
Ellis stressed that he has also taken care of other aspects of the job, such as doing the homework on St Mirren.
“Nothing has really changed in terms of our general preparation for games,” he said.
“We’ve got the same match reporting and the same opposition work analysis. That has not been affected.
“We know St Mirren have had a great season and, quite rightly, their manager Jack Ross is held in high regard throughout Scottish football.
“They’ve got good, hungry, young players and there is pace and experience in their team.
“They are at the top of the league but we’re desperate to get up there too.
“We are not where we want to be but we are also not a mile away.
“We have only just passed the first quarter of the season and we know what our targets are.
“We have a good group of players and we also have a great support. It’s down to us all to get the club where we want to be.”
Meanwhile, there was good news on the injury front for the Tangerines.
Midfielder Fraser Fyvie, who missed out at Dumbarton, is available again.
Ellis said: “Fraser rejoined training this week and looks back to his old self.
“He was really close for last week, gave it his best and we appreciated that.
“He worked hard all week but by the Friday morning he just didn’t feel ready.”
However, both Jordie Briels and Lewis Toshney remain on the casualty list.