Peterhead have been dealt a defensive blow after Raith Rovers recalled loanee defender Reece Donaldson.
The 19-year-old impressed during his seven-match spell with the Blue Toon, scoring against Clyde and twice being named man of the match.
In the wake of their 3-0 defeat to Livingston on Saturday, Rover’s chairman Turnbull Hutton contacted Peterhead to ask if Donaldson’s loan deal could be cut short.
Donaldson had been due to stay at Balmoor until January 14 but has immediately returned to his parent club.
Blue Toon boss Jim McInally said: “It’s bad news for us but it’s a courtesy.
“What’s the point falling out with Raith over a player we could hopefully get back again in the future?
“If we play hardball we might not see another player from Raith Rovers.
“There’s no point souring relations with another team who were good enough to help us out.”
Donaldson was drafted in to shore up a defence which had not kept a clean sheet in 16 games.
Peterhead were then undefeated during his short loan spell.
McInally continued: “For me, part of having boys on loan is giving them game time, getting them a bit fitter and hopefully Reece has learnt something.
“Reece will always be a good defender. He’s a rare breed - good defenders are hard to find now.
“You can imagine after Saturday’s game when they were beaten 3-0 that panic set in.
“And Raith is an attractive place right now with a Ramsden’s Cup final against Rangers coming up.”
After Peterhead’s 1-1 draw with Albion this month, Donaldson told the Buchanie he was enjoying life in the North East.
He said: “I’m delighted to be doing well.
“If I was going to start at Raith, that’s who I’m contracted to and I would love to play. If not, I’m happy to stay here.”
Although McInally has said there are a number of defenders ‘on his radar’ for the January transfer window, in the short term the Blue Toon will return to a makeshift defence.
It is likely fullback and captain Steven Noble will be trusted with a centre back berth and Ryan McCann will play on the left.