Declan McManus took the decision to leave Aberdeen for the benefit of his career, but now the attacker is eager to earn another crack at playing in the Scottish Premiership with Ross County.
McManus is a new recruit at Victoria Park, having joined the Staggies earlier this summer from Championship rivals Dunfermline.
The 23-year-old began his career with the Dons, but was unable to force his way into Derek McInnes’ first team plans and opted to join English club Fleetwood Town in 2015.
After falling out of favour under Steven Pressley, McManus returned north and spent loan spells with Morton and Raith Rovers before joining the Pars last season, but he has quickly been impressed by County’s intent to win promotion back to the top-flight.
McManus said: “The thing that jumped out at me was the ambition the club has got to get back to the Premiership. Obviously I’ve had a wee taste of it before with Aberdeen, but I want to be there regularly.
“That was the big thing for me, and when I looked at the squad when the interest came in, they have retained a lot of their best players from last year.
“Just from playing against the guys in previous years, I know how good they are. It’s a good squad, one I looked at and thought could get automatically back up.
“We know we are probably seen as a big fish in the league this year, and it’s a chance for us to go and show we are that big fish and go and get promoted.”
McManus insists he has no regrets about leaving the Dons, where he made 13 appearances without scoring.
He added: “Aberdeen had offered me a new deal, but I was within my rights to go with the date they had offered.
“I spoke to Derek and at the time I just felt like it was best for me, in my career, to go because I felt I was going to have a better chance of playing in the first team.
“I was at Aberdeen since I was eight all the way through to the first team, so it was really good, I learned practically everything I know from my years there.
“My wee taste of the first team was good. It wasn’t as much as I wanted or planned to have, so when it came to the opportunity to leave I thought it was probably best for me.
“Sometimes you’ve come through the ranks, maybe it’s the wrong thing to say but you can be part of the furniture.
“I’m the type of person that always wants to test myself, and try and go somewhere that’s out of my comfort zone that’s going to make me a better player.
“That’s what I did when I left, it never worked out straight away but I’ve ended up here at Ross County, a club with big ambitions and it comes with the managers, even through to the chairman.”