Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes has insisted he made the right decision letting Lawrence Shankland leave the club in 2017.
Since leaving Pittodrie, Shankland has been a prolific goalscorer for Ayr United.
The 23-year-old has scored 55 times in 58 games and contributed a further 23 assists for the Honest Men.
During his time at Pittodrie, Shankland had three spells on loan – joining Greenock, St. Mirren and Dunfermline.
McInnes has defended the decision to release the striker but admits he would have liked to have seen Shankland replicate his current form in an Aberdeen jersey.
“It’s great he’s become a different player. I know him well, I know his family, and I couldn’t be more pleased for him. Of course, I would have liked to have seen that Lawrence with us,” McInnes told the Press and Journal.
“He always knew how to finish but to play up a level, to play for our club as the main striker, he needed to be more rounded, more athletic, stronger – be more than just a finisher. He wasn’t that, and he’ll admit it himself.”
Shankland’s loan spells were very much a mixed bag and the striker clearly struggled with the step up from amateur with Queen’s Park.
Despite that, at only 23 he still has a long career ahead of him.
A prolific striker like that would be perfect for Aberdeen just now but it’s hard to disagree with McInnes view.
With a strike partner, Shankland is as deadly as anyone in Scotland but played as a lone striker he struggles.
If teams can afford to accommodate him then they have a fantastic finiser on their hands.
If they can’t then they’ll quickly see why Aberdeen let him go.
He might always be the one that got away for Aberdeen – but it was the right decision to do so.