Aberdeen boss Jim Goodwin insists no player set to exit the club at the end of the season has downed tools.
Goodwin has already informed those players with no Dons future they will leave at the end of the campaign.
He is confident receiving that exit confirmation has not dented players’ commitment to Aberdeen.
The Reds have four games, in the Premiership bottom six, remaining before the end of the season.
Goodwin has no doubts he can rely on players with no Pittodrie future in those games, despite the knowledge they are set to leave.
He said: “None of the players I have spoken to have downed tools.
“Players who are leaving have all given their all for Aberdeen and they leave with a shake of the hand and a pat on the back – and we wish them well in the future.
“No fans will be able to say the players don’t care and aren’t committed.
“I can’t fault the players’ efforts and the players I have spoken to have all appreciated the honesty.
“I have given them time so they can sort their futures and that of their family for next season.”
‘I don’t pull the wool over their eyes’
Goodwin’s summer rebuild has already started as the contracts for Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Mikey Devlin were both terminated.
Long-serving defender Andy Considine will end 19 years in the first team at the end of the campaign.
Scotland international Considine, 35, had the offer of a new contract withdrawn after talks broke down.
Considine has recently battled back to fitness, having been sidelined since undergoing knee surgery last August.
The defender suffered cruciate ligament damage in a Europa Conference League play-off loss to Qarabag in Kazakhstan.
Considine has been an unused substitute in recent games.
Goodwin has yet to reveal the identities of the other players set to leave.
He said: “I think the players have appreciated my honesty.
“I have had managers who do it differently, but the ones I had the most respect for were upfront and gave me time to sort out my future.
“What is better – to lie to the players and kid them on and tell them I will let them know at the end of the season? Or give them a few months to speak to their agent and put feelers out?
“The players aren’t stupid.
“If it goes to the end of the season without saying anything, they would know they weren’t getting a contract.
“I don’t pull the wool over their eyes when you know we won’t give them a deal.
“I appreciated the honesty as a player and the ones I have spoken to have appreciated it and respected my decision.
“It is better – we are all grown men.”
Honest and frank discussions held
Goodwin will rebuild a squad who have failed to finish in the Premiership top six for the first time since 2013.
The Reds have also failed to qualify for Europe after a run of eight consecutive seasons of continental action.
Asked if there were any tense discussions with players when informing them they would be leaving, Goodwin said: “Not tense at all.
“Just honest and frank conversations.
“I always think it’s better to have an honest and frank conversation with them and just give them my reasons.
“There are too many managers who do it differently and wait until the end of the season. I don’t think that is fair on players.
“People will have their own opinions on it, but that’s the way I do it.”
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Threat of relegation play-off lingers
Goodwin was appointed Aberdeen manager in mid-February and was tasked with hauling the club to a top six finish.
That hasn’t happened and now the Reds are battling to avoid being dragged into a relegation play-off battle.
St Johnstone, who occupy that play-off spot, are five points behind the Reds.
Aberdeen host bottom club Dundee on Saturday in the knowledge a win would go a long way to extinguishing the play-off danger.
An opportunity to bring in fresh faces
While trying to get Aberdeen back up the table, Goodwin also conducted a squad assessment ahead of the summer rebuild.
When his decision on who would stay and who would leave was made, he saw no point in delaying delivering the news.
He said: “I came in during February and it’s normally around the January, February time that you start talking to players who are out of contract.
“The longer you drag these things on and don’t have these conversations, the players know that their time is inevitably up.
“I don’t think anybody expected me to go into next season with the exact same squad.
“I think we’re all quite grown up about the situation.
“I’ve been there myself numerous times as a player where a manager doesn’t fancy you. It’s part and parcel of life at the end of the day.
“You’ve got to go and get yourself sorted somewhere else. That’s the way it goes.
“This season has been poor and the players are well aware of that. We’ve got to try to improve.
“I’ve got an opportunity in the summer to bring in fresh faces and that’s what we’ll do.”