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By Robbie Hanratty

USA international Christian Ramirez was the toast of Aberdeen but his campaign started to fizzle before his abrupt departure on Tuesday.

The California native made the move from the Houston Dynamo to the Granite City last summer and is one of the club's highest earners.

But manager Jim Goodwin revealed he has sent the striker home a week early to "recharge his batteries" after his form has dipped under the former St Mirren boss' tenure.

Ramirez has scored 16 goals in 51 appearances for the Granite City club but his last goal came against Motherwell in February - in what would be the last game in charge for former boss Stephen Glass.

His hasty exit with two Premiership games to play has caught many of the Red Army off guard.

And now some believe we may have seen the last of the American striker in Scottish football, with some not having it that the Dons can let their top scorer leave on holiday early when there's games against St Johnstone and St Mirren still to be played.

Despite the distraction, Aberdeen have put to bed any relegation worries with four points against Dundee and Hibs condemning the Dens Park club and St Johnstone to the bottom two.

Record Sport takes a look at Ramirez' time in Scotland and assess where his future lies.

Purple patch

Earlier in his career, Ramirez had been a prolific forward in MLS with Minnesota United and Los Angeles FC and that put him onto the fringes of the USA national team where he earned two caps, scoring once.

And he couldn't have got off to a better start in Scotland after bagging four goals in his first four games, including a double against Breidablik in a Europa Conference League qualifier.

Ramirez raced into double figures earlier in the season than any Aberdeen player besides Sam Cosgrove and Adam Rooney had for 25 years which helped him live up to his nickname in the States of 'Superman'.

Dip in form

With fellow attackers Jay Emmanuel Thomas and Marley Watkins struggling to keep fitness, the Dons were on the verge of an attacking nightmare.

Ramirez then saw a dip in form from the end of October where he scored just twice in ten games until finally breaking that duck in a 3-0 Scottish Cup victory over Edinburgh City on January 22.

He operated with no strike partner and very limited service in a struggling team so with so much minutes it was no surprise that it may take it's toll at some point.

Glass' departure

None, certainly, gave more in the attempt to save the former manager’s job than Ramirez.

He scored in each of Glass’ last three games in charge, only for the team to lose them all.

When Glass was sacked by the Dons after a dismal run of form in February, things seemed to turn sour for Ramirez.

Goals dried up and with Jim Goodwin replacing the former Atlanta 2 boss, game time was reduced too.

Ramirez was left on the bench against Hibs last Saturday after ten games without finding the net and also was left raging after being substituted against Dundee in the previous game.

(SNS Group)

The striker fumed as he was replaced by Teddy Jenks in the second half in a reaction which was criticised from the Dons fans.

Ramirez's family returned to the United States earlier last month, prompting him to engage with fans questioning whether he will follow suit on social media.

When asked on his future, Goodwin stated, "He is contracted for next season. Anyone who doesn't want to be here next season, all they have to do is chap my door and tell me.

"Right now the big man is under contract. He has scored some big goals. He has come from a different country and it can take time to adapt and settle, but I don't think it has taken that with Christian in fairness to him."

Cryptic clues

In an interview in November with American Soccer Now, Ramirez hinted as much as he enjoys life in Scotland he admits he has some unfinished business back in his homeland.

“I'm really fond of my time that I've had in MLS and I think that I can still go back and play someday,” Ramirez explained.

He added: “I don't hold any grudges. I learned from my experiences. I enjoyed my time in Houston, have a great relationship with the guys in the locker room, and I hope to one day go back to MLS and use that last year and a half as some motivation to turn things in a positive note.”

All in all, if his Aberdeen career is to end this summer, it may go down as one of unrealised potential with the Dons failure to recruit competition for the striker potentially leading to the late season burnout.

But if Ramirez remains for the 2022/23 campaign the Reds must still sign another proven goal scorer to play up front with him.

Fans wait with bated breath to see what the summer brings.

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Dive Deeper:
Buddie Banter: St Mirren beating Jim Goodwin's Aberdeen on final day would be sweet end to season for Saints fans
In this week's column Express sport reporter Ben Ramage looks ahead to St Mirren's final game of the season against…
Gordon Strachan to lead Dundee rebuild as huge decision looms over Mark McGhee's future
The former Celtic and Scotland boss is set to take a more hands-on role as the Dens Park club plot…
Jim Goodwin eyes £150k Aberdeen prize as he hopes for 'really exciting summer' after calamitous season
The former St Mirren boss faces his ex-employers for the first time this weekend in Aberdeen's final match of this…
St Mirren captain Joe Shaughnessy admits he wants to 'get one over' former boss Jim Goodwin
The Buddies defender is hoping to inflict more pain on former club Aberdeen when they face off at Pittodrie on…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Dundee relegated to Championship as St Johnstone win seals Mark McGhee's side's fate
The Dee will return to Scottish football's second flight next season after a dismal campaign following last season's promotion through…
Celtic legend to land job, Forest Green suffer huge blow after title win – League One headlines
The latest League One headlines as clubs turn their attention towards building for next season
Get all your news in one place