THE I’s still have to be dotted and the T’s still have to be crossed as the details are finalised but the big picture remains the same at Ibrox.
Six weeks on from the sacking of Pedro Caixinha, the Rangers board have made their move for Derek McInnes as they attempt to bring the process to a long-awaited conclusion.
McInnes will know exactly what he is walking in to if he puts pen-to-paper and clinches a return to Rangers in the coming days.
Here, SportTimes looks at the issues the 46-year-old will face when if he assumes control and accepts the mission of bringing success back to Ibrox.
Both McInnes and Stewart Milne, the Aberdeen chairman, have previously spoken about the importance of the rapport between them and how it was key to the Dons’ success in recent years.
That bond may have been stretched in recent days but McInnes will now look to replicate a similar situation at Ibrox. It is a matter of who that will be with, though.
McInnes has never worked under a Director of Football before and could be seen as more of a manager, in the traditional sense, than a Head Coach.
So the demarcation lines between he and Mark Allen must be made clearly. Allen has had a key role in the recruitment process in recent weeks and the working relationship that he forms with McInnes will be crucial going forward.
Both are ultimately working towards the same goal and with the same targets in mind but they will need to share a philosophy when it comes to player identification, the youth department and the scouting structure.
Allen will be the first point of contact for McInnes on all football matters, with the former Manchester City academy chief then reporting to Managing Director Stewart Robertson.
Ultimately, every major decision will be run by Dave King and the trust and backing of the chairman will be significant for McInnes.
King had differing relationships with Mark Warburton and Caixinha and he will hope to strike up a far more successful alliance with the next man in the dugout.
The group of players that McInnes will inherit is of a greater strength and depth than the one that he leaves behind at Pittodrie.
But it is still some way off being capable of challenging at the top of the Premiership and it will need further surgery sooner rather than later.
Graeme Murty has shown in recent weeks that it is possible to get more out of the players that underperformed and underachieved during Caixinha’s reign and McInnes will hope he can improve the squad individually and collectively.
Everyone on the books will see the new era as a clean slate and a chance to impress but some have more ground to make up than others and even a change in the dugout won’t be enough to prolong their Ibrox careers.
With the January transfer window just weeks away, time is of the essence for Rangers and McInnes will hope to quickly establish who he can work with and who will be allowed to leave.
Rangers have seen little return for their considerable outlays over the last two years and that must change if they are to close the gap to Celtic on and off the park.
King has already stated that funds will be made available to strengthen the squad but only time will tell how much cash McInnes feels is required next month and how much is saved for the summer transfer window.
The money at his disposal, both in terms of fees and wages, will increase several fold and McInnes will now be able to shop in a different market than the one he scoured at Aberdeen.
McInnes will be well aware of what is needed to get the Gers up to standard and will expect the Light Blues hierarchy to sign the big cheques as and when required.
The Ibrox board can’t be faulted for backing both Warburton and Caixinha with significant funds but the strategy in the market can be questioned.
It would be no surprise to see McInnes operate a safety-first approach to the next stage of the rebuild. The likes of Kenny McLean and Louis Moult would certainly improve the Ibrox squad for relatively low outlays.
The new scouting structure implemented by Allen will be tasked with uncovering talent at both home and abroad but McInnes has already shown that he is a shrewd operator in the transfer market.
He will have the final say on all incomings but he will have to work with Allen to identify the characteristics of what he expects in a player. His knowledge of the club and Scottish football will certainly prove useful here.
Much of this will come under Allen’s remit and the appointment of Andy Scoulding as Head of Scouting was an important step for the Welshman.
Nine-in-a-row hero John Brown will scout the domestic market, while Dave Swanick will scour Europe for players and Billy McLaren will search for youngsters to bring into the Auchenhowie Academy.
Rangers have invested in the youth system in recent years and Craig Mulholland is likely to be left to continue with his blueprint for the future. It remains to be seen if Under-20s boss Murty will have a role at first team level, though.
McInnes will inherit a significant backroom team and behind the scenes staff but will have the resources to bring his own people on board if required.
The appointment of McInnes hasn’t been universally popular with supporters but the former Light Blues midfielder will get the backing of the Ibrox crowd from the off.
The win for Murty’s side at Pittodrie on Sunday was the first of seven fixtures the Gers will play this month and McInnes will have to hit the ground running if he is to pull away from the Dons.
Rangers won’t be expected to challenge Celtic for the title but the Old Firm clash in a couple of weeks gives McInnes a chance to get a big game win under his belt early on.
The goals for the remainder of the campaign are twofold for Rangers. The first objective is to finish best of the rest in the Premiership and the other is to mount a serious challenge for the Scottish Cup.
Neither should be beyond the Gers in the coming months and ending the season with a bit of momentum will be crucial to allow McInnes to gear up for the Europa League qualifiers and his first full crack at the top flight.