Aberdeen boss Jim Goodwin insists he has no regrets about sanctioning striker Christian Ramirez’ early return to the United States.
The 31-year-old jetted back to the States a week before the end of the season.
Goodwin let the US international fly home because he was showing signs of fatigue having had no summer break.
Ramirez, Aberdeen’s second-highest scorer for the season on 15 goals, missed the final two Premiership games against St Mirren and St Johnstone.
Aberdeen failed to score in both games and secured just one point from six.
Goodwin said: “Do I have any regrets about letting Christian go early? No, none at all.
“He showed me in the games he played what he can do for us.
“Christian had been underperforming and that’s due to fatigue so we made the decision and that’s the reason behind it.
“We got to look at Michael Ruth and Liam Harvey so we have no regrets over Christian.”
Reasons for Ramirez leaving early
Capped twice by the US, striker Ramirez is contracted to Aberdeen until summer 2023.
There has been speculation Ramirez could exit the club this summer.
Goodwin expects Ramirez to return to Aberdeen for pre-season training in mid-June
Ramirez showed his frustration at being substituted in the 1-0 defeat of Dundee by kicking the water bottles near the dugout.
The American striker had been dropped to the bench in the previous game, a 2-1 loss to Livingston.
It was the first time Ramirez had been a substitute in a Premiership match since August last year.
🎶 He is our no.9⃣…
🇺🇸 11 goals so far this season for Christian Ramirez.
— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) January 3, 2022
The forward’s season began in September 2020 when he played his first game of the MLS season with Houston Dynamo.
The striker was on the bench for Houston in a 1-1 draw with Los Angeles on June 20 last year.
Eight days later, his transfer to Aberdeen was completed, and he then jetted into the Granite City on June 30 to begin pre-season training with the Dons.
Ramirez had gone more than a year-and-a-half without an extended break until Goodwin sanctioned his early return to the States.
Premiership rookies pitched in, as Harvey withdrawn from U17 Euros
With Ramirez back in the States and Marley Watkins ruled out by injury for the St Johnstone game, Goodwin turned to two Premiership rookies.
Michael Ruth, 20, made his first Aberdeen start in the 1-0 loss at St Johnstone.
Prior to that match, Ruth had made four brief substitute appearances for Aberdeen, for a total of 18 minutes.
It has been confirmed Ruth will leave the club following the conclusion of his contract.
Teenage striker Liam Harvey was also promoted to the first-team squad having excelled with the under-18s this season.
The 17-year-old made his first-team debut when coming off the bench at McDiarmid Park.
Harvey was set to fly out to Israel with the Scotland U17 squad the day after his Aberdeen debut in Perth. headed for the UEFA U17 European championships.
Striker Harvey was subsequently in the Aberdeen squad for the final game of the season against St Mirren.
The teen came off the bench for his Pittodrie debut in the 0-0 draw.
Aberdeen teenage midfielder Dylan Lobban travelled to the U17 European championships with Scotland as planned.
The young Scots are in a group with Portugal, Denmark and Sweden (Monday, May 23).
Lobban featured as a substitute in the U17 Scots 5-1 group loss to Portugal on Tuesday.
#SCO17s | Squad update:
— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) May 12, 2022
Tough call to withdraw teen Harvey
Goodwin admits withdrawing Harvey from the Euro championship squad was a tough call.
However, Aberdeen’s first team had to take priority.
Goodwin said: “We pulled Liam Harvey out of the U17s Scotland squad – I don’t like doing that to the young lads.
“It was an opportunity for Liam to go to Israel which would have been a great experience for him.
“I actually went there many years ago with the Irish underage groups.
“It was a part of the world that I probably thought I would never see.
“I got to experience that and I would have liked Liam to experience that as well.
“We had to take him out because the Aberdeen first team is the priority and Liam understands that.”
Emergence of Harvey a positive
Aberdeen called time on the season with a goalless stalemate against St Mirren.
It concluded a campaign where the Reds finished in the Premiership bottom six for the first time since 2013.
The only real positive to take from the campaign is the emergence of young talent.
In a breakthrough season, right-back Calvin Ramsay racked up more assists than any other teenage defender in world football.
Premier League giants Liverpool are set to launch a £4 million summer swoop for Ramsay that could rise to £6m with achievable add-ons.
Teen midfielder Connor Barron, 19, was a standout performer since Goodwin was appointed manager in mid-February.
Barron has started every game under Goodwin.
The midfielder also secured a title-winner’s medal following a successful loan spell at League Two champions Kelty Hearts until January.
The emergence of Harvey into the first team set-up is another positive.
Goodwin said: “A positive to come out of the St Johnstone game was that we managed to get one of our young academy graduates onto the park.
“That is a big, big part of this football club.”