What followed was the stadium announcer shouting ‘LEWIS’ followed by the answer of the crowd ‘FERGUSON’. That call and response would continue, back and forth. It was his third goal for his new club and second at the ground which hosted matches in the 1990 World Cup. After what was a difficult beginning to life in Serie A, the 23-year-old Scotland international is emerging as an important cog in the Bologna midfield and a fans’ favourite.
Ferguson was excellent as his team picked up three points which keeps them tucked in mid-table in Serie A. A perfectly-timed performance with a Scotland fixture coming up this week as Steve Clarke takes his side to Turkey for a friendly. With three call-offs, the team travels with a small squad and the midfielder should add to his four caps. Despite being the third youngest player in the squad, he is far more experienced than his 23 years.
Last summer he handed in a transfer request as Watford tried to sign him from Aberdeen. Ferguson has since admitted he has no regrets over his actions but there will certainly be no regrets over how his career across the last 12 months has transpired. He was a talisman at Pittodrie. In four seasons he missed just 16 matches. Of the 169 games he was available for, he started 168, coming off the bench in the other. Across those games he performed just about all midfield roles, he was the go-to clutch performer for Derek McInnes. Looking at how well he has adapted to Italian football it is easy to think a move to Watford who were relegated from the Premier League wouldn’t have been as beneficial for his career.
In Bologna, not only is he learning a language, experience and different culture but he is also growing up as a footballer. A suspension carried over from his time in Scotland prevented him being involved at the start of the season, while former manager Siniša Mihajlović was under pressure before being replaced by Thiago Motta. The former Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Inter Milan and Italy midfielder clearly likes Ferguson. He has started the last six, while proving he can handle both the technical and physical demands that are placed on him by a manager who wants his team to play with a high intensity and in a league which is more demanding than what he was used to on a regular basis in Scotland. That work-rate, tenacity and aggression as well as the ability to win free-kicks remains part of his game, qualities which are appreciated by the Bologna crowd.
Wednesday in Turkey presents the perfect opportunity for Ferguson to demonstrate how much he has grown as a player in such a short time in Italy. To showcase all those talents to Steve Clarke, the Scotland fans tuning in and to prove he very much belongs on the international stage.