The Dons are making it a priority to do everything in their power can to hold on to their top young talent for as long as possible as they have shown in dealings with Scott McKenna recently.
They increased the terms of the highly-rated central defender’s contract on two occasions last season to reward the sort of form that led to multi-million pound transfer bids from Celtic, Aston Villa and Hull City as well as the captaincy of Scotland in the summer.
Now they are determined to do the same for Rangers reject Ferguson, 19, with an increase in wages and an extension of the deal to the summer of 2023.
The midfielder made 14 appearances for Hamilton after being told he wouldn’t make the grade at Ibrox, before the Dons snapped him up under freedom of contract in the summer. Accies were far from happy with the £250,000 compensation eventually awarded by a transfer tribunal and that frustration will have intensified as only a knee injury has prevented Ferguson starting every match so far under Derek McInnes.
However, he has been a standout in the ten he has featured in and more than repaid that fee on Sunday with the goal against Rangers that booked Aberdeen’s place in December’s Betfred Cup final.
Now Hamilton will come up against Ferguson and their former captain Mikey Devlin, who joined Aberdeen in January, for the first time since they moved to the Dons when the teams meet at Pittodrie tonight.
Accies have already lost all seven games there since McInnes took over and at the risk of adding insult to injury the Aberdeen manager insists Ferguson and Devlin are grateful for their opponents’ help.
He said: “Both lads rightly have widely recognised the part Hamilton have played in their development.
“It was great that after the semi-final win Lewis mentioned the influence George Cairns had on him at Hamilton after being rejected by Rangers.
“It’s a great story for so many youngsters who are deemed not good enough and can be crestfallen after not making it somewhere.
“They can lose confidence in that situation but it shows that if people believe in you then you can go and find your level to bounce back.
“Lewis recognises that and definitely Mikey knows that as well and when you speak to Martin Canning, Les Gray and Ronnie McDonald they always wax lyrical about how good those lads were.
“They are rightly proud of their part in their development but it happens a lot that people play against their former clubs. I’m sure there will be a bit more emotion in the game for them but Hamilton are trying to get three points for their club and we will be determined to win as well. There’s no doubt that Mikey and Lewis have a big part to play for us in making sure that happens.”
Andrew Considine misses the match with the neck injury he sustained in the first half of Sunday’s semi-final win against Rangers at Hampden Park and led to him being taken to hospital.
Thankfully the injury wasn’t as serious as first feared and Aberdeen’s longest serving player will be in the squad for this weekend’s trip to Kilmarnock. Derby County’s on-loan left-back Max Lowe took over against Rangers and will start at home to Hamilton tonight and although he is delighted that Considine is back in training that doesn’t mean he’s going to let his team-mate stroll back into the side with a cup final coming up.
He said:“I am happy Andy is okay. He is back in and it is good to see him up and walking about. But it is squad game and Andy and I both understand that it is all healthy competition. He will be pushing me and I will be pushing him and I look forward to the Hamilton game. But there are a lot more matches to come before the final and we will be testing ourselves before then.”