Tam Courts has backed Miller Thomson to become a star with Dundee United.
The 17-year-old was handed his first top team start against St Mirren last weekend.
However, the young forward was substituted with United trailing 1-0 at the interval.
The Tangerines turned the game around in the second half to claim a potentially vital three points in the race for European football.
And Courts insists there were tactical and fitness reasons for sacrificing Thomson – and insists the youngster has a bright future at Tannadice.
“Miller coming off was partly tactical, and partly because he had a slight ankle knock,” said the United boss.
“I just didn’t feel like we had the time to wait and see how he was going to feed into the second half.
“I thought Miller put in a strong showing.
“But ultimately, for young players, especially a 17-year-old, to do well in these sorts of occasions, the platform has to be in place. The senior players need to be playing well.
“And, like I’ve acknowledged, once St Mirren scored we got rocked badly, it affected our confidence, and you are always going to have players who suffer.
“Miller has a really bright future and that was a positive showing — but I had to make a choice at half-time in terms of salvaging this club’s top-six aspirations.”
Meanwhile, Courts believes the international break has arrived at just the right time for Dundee United.
United have a free weekend ahead of next Saturday’s Premiership resumption against Hibs.
With the stakes so high, the United boss is delighted to have been afforded the chance to rest his key players.
“I think that is really important,” he said.
“We have actually relied on 13 or 14 players throughout the course of the whole season.
“That’s why we have been able to give 15 academy graduates appearances over the course of the campaign.
“So it’s vital we refresh the players, recharge them.
“We are going to go to the well with the same ones for the next match against Hibs. We need to look after them.”