In recent days Aberdeen confirmed youth academy products Frank Ross and Danny Rogers had been released at the end of their contracts.
Both players have already shown great promise at points during their careers, but have been deemed surplus to requirements at Pittodrie in what are difficult times financially.
Ross, 22, scored a sublime free-kick against Rangers in a league game at Pittodrie, while Rogers, 26, had a run of matches in Derek McInnes’ first team when Joe Lewis was injured in 2018, as well as being named in the Championship team of the season during two years on loan at Falkirk.
For Ellon’s Ross, niggling injuries have been a limiting factor in his progress, while Rogers has been stuck behind vastly-experienced stoppers Lewis and Tomas Cerny in the pecking order.
Of course, there are plenty of academy products who don’t quite make the first-team grade at a club like Aberdeen, and end up further down the divisions or in different careers entirely.
Both Ross and Rogers’ futures are unclear, however, there have also been plenty of young or relatively young players released by the Dons after spending time in the club’s youth set-up who have provided a blueprint on how bounce back and go on to play at a decent level in the club game, or earn recognition at international level:
Here are some well-known and less-well-known examples:
Here’s a player who made just one first-team appearance for the Dons, but will be playing in the English Championship next season and is surely on the cusp of a Scotland call-up.
Centre-back Rose, 24, admitted to the Evening Express he didn’t feel he’d made the most of his chance at hometown club Aberdeen before he was released in 2016.
However, he was picked up by Ayr United, where he was a stalwart under Ian McCall in the Honest Men’s triumphant 2018/19 League One campaign. He again played more than 40 times as Ayr finished in one of the Premiership play-off places the following season.
This caught Coventry City’s attention, and he helped the Sky Blues romp England’s third tier in the campaign just finished following his move on a two-year deal.
Defender Robertson, now 26, made 68 first-team appearances for Aberdeen – having been given plenty of game time and a new three-year deal under Craig Brown’s management.
However, he made just one substitute appearance in his final season (2014/15) under Brown’s successor, current boss Derek McInnes, and was released at the age of 21.
Robertson also found his way to England, making more than 100 appearances in three years with Blackpool before joining Rotherham United and, like Rose, earning promotion to the Championship ahead of next season.
Dundee United star Shankland, 24, was released by the Dons in 2017 after just 17 first-team appearances. He has previously admitted he wasn’t ready to play for a club like Aberdeen to the Evening Express.
However, the striker has benefited hugely from stepping down the divisions, first with Ayr United and then finishing up as the joint top-scorer in the SPFL last season as he fired the Tangerines to the Championship title.
He is almost guaranteed to move on for big money this summer and has been linked to Rangers and English Championship Stoke City already.
Shankland also made his first Scotland appearances in games against Russia and San Marino, also scoring his first international goal, last year.
Nuttall – who was in Manchester City’s youth set-up before he joined the Reds – was released after two first-team appearances in 2017, aged 20.
However, the striker has gone on to success in the English lower leagues, winning the third tier with Blackburn in 2017/18 before playing in the Championship for Rovers the following season.
He is now back in League One with Blackpool, who he played for 33 times last season.
Goalkeeper Bain, now 28, played in one friendly for the Dons and was released in 2011.
From there, the stopper joined Alloa, making 100 appearances and earning a move to Dundee, where he made another 100-plus appearances.
In 2018, Bain, who has gone on to play three times for Scotland, left Dens Park for Premiership champions Celtic, initially on loan. He was first-choice for the Hoops in 2018/19, and, despite playing serving as a back-up option last term, still played in five Champions League qualification games.
Faroese midfielder Hansson, who was 18 when he made his sole appearance for Aberdeen under Mark McGhee, left Pittodrie in 2011.
Now 27 – and after spells at HB Torshavn, Aalborg, Vikingur and Vendsyssel FF – he has established himself at Danish Superliga side AC Horsens, making more than 100 appearances. He is also a 48-cap international and counting.
Gilli Rolantsson Sorensen
Sorensen, 28, is another Faroese national team stalwart (36 caps) who was once on the Aberdeen books.
He has also, like Hansson, gone on to success in Scandinavian football, winning both the country’s top-flight and national trophy with Aalborg in 2013/14.
Since 2016, the wide man has been plying his trade with Brann in Norway, where he has tasted the Europa League qualifying rounds – something all too familiar to Aberdeen fans.