The family name, and the football lineage it conjures up, has never fazed Lewis Ferguson. It does, though, appear to fire him up.
A second season cementing his place in the Aberdeen senior set-up also took him a little closer to one of his stated aims in the game: finding the net more than father Derek did across a career that brought him 17 goals and sustained spells at Rangers, Hearts, Sunderland, Clydebank and Hamilton Accies among 14 club postings. Only eight of these strikes came in 148 outings in the Rangers colours that younger brother Barry, uncle of Lewis, later excelled in.
“I always give him stick about that,” the Pittodrie midfielder said of his dad’s meagre Ibrox goal returns. “I don’t know how many he scored in his career but I’m trying to beat that as well if possible, and try to do that as quick as I can.
“I wanted to get more goals in my game last season. I think I got eight the previous one [2018-19] and that’s something I wanted to be able to try and beat [but only got three]. But I was playing deeper a lot of the time, so that was difficult.”
More difficult is offering up a riposte when his dad comes back at him over the paucity of goals in his two decades playing. “When I searched up [his total] and I told him I was coming for him, he turned round and told me he had a league and a League Cup winners’ medal by my age. He put me right in my place but I would also love to go and get trophies as well,” said Ferguson.
“When you see his medals, it makes you that wee bit more determined to go and do it yourself and experience that feeling of winning something. The goal of winning a trophy hasn’t changed. I’m pretty sure it’s something the rest of the boys in the squad want to experience as well.”
If he achieves the objective, it could mean more booty to be stored at his grandparents. “ I’m sure my gran and granda have got my dad’s medal but I can’t remember the last time I saw them,” he said.
In claiming the football writers’ young player award, he might be said to be following in one of the footsteps of his most famous relative, in the form of former Rangers and Scotland captain and uncle, Barry. He will never shake off the associations with his footballing kin, but doesn’t feel burdened by his background.
“In other people’s eyes there will be pressure because of the name but it’s my career,” he said. “I wouldn’t say it doesn’t have anything to do with my family because they are there to help me, but it’s my career and it is myself who is making the decisions and I don’t feel any added pressure. I can see why people think that but I don’t feel any added pressure to go and achieve things. I put pressure on myself to achieve things and the pressure is coming from me to go and perform.”
The Covid-19-enforced lockdown allowed him to retreat to the family home in Hamilton and the pressure from his nearest and dearest in recent times may have, unspokenly, become of a more immediate variety. “I’ve been back down staying at my mum and dad’s for a while,” Ferguson said. “I’ve been away for a couple of years now, so to be back home with my mum and dad and brother has been good. I’ve not been able to be down for more than a day or two over the last couple of years, but they’ll probably be glad to get rid of me.”
They will in the coming days, with the Dons squad scheduled to return to individual training on Monday. The player is counting down the days until he can, at least see in socially distanced fashion, his team-mates.
“It has been tough [working out on my own] because you are used to doing everything together,” he said. “When we were training I would travel in with a few of the boys and we would have breakfast together, go to the gym together, train together, have lunch together, so it is a bit strange just being on your own training. It is probably harder mentally than what it is physically.
“But I’ve kept myself in a routine; I’ve been training everyday. But this is probably the longest I’ve been without playing games or training with a squad. I’m dying to get back and see the boys and just get back training and get that bit of normality back. I just can’t wait to get back kicking a ball.”
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