Soccer

Lewis Ferguson ready to bide time as he aims to build on club form with Scotland

Lewis Ferguson aims to build on a strong season (Steve Welsh/PA)
Lewis Ferguson aims to build on a strong season (Steve Welsh/PA) Lewis Ferguson aims to build on a strong season (Steve Welsh/PA)

Lewis Ferguson recognises the continued need for patience as he looks to make his mark with Scotland but the midfielder feels he has made major strides ahead of his latest chance.

Ferguson heads out to Oslo for Scotland’s third Euro 2024 qualifier, against Norway, on the back of scoring in three consecutive games for Bologna.

The 23-year-old took his Serie A tally to seven in total when he netted a last-gasp winner at Lecce on June 4 to seal a ninth-placed finish, his club’s best final league position since 2012.

Ferguson, who moved to Italy from Aberdeen last summer, said: “It’s been a good end to the season for me, I scored three goals in my last three games, so I have a really positive mindset coming into this camp. I have had a great season, really enjoyed it.

“I think on the pitch I have improved. I have come out of my comfort zone, I think you need to do that to improve.

“Tactically has been a really big one because Italian football is really tactical, there is a lot of detail. But I think everything, in terms of technical stuff I have improved massively because of the way the manager wants us to play. It’s total football.

“In Serie A you are coming up against some top-level sides, some top players.

“The standard of the league is really high, as you have seen in European competition this year. All three finals had Italian teams. Although they lost, it shows you the standard of the league is really high.

“When you come up against good players, you improve as a player, if you can take bits away from it and learn from it.

“And off the pitch I have grown as a person as well. When you move country, new culture, you grow as a person as well.

“I am still learning the language. It’s difficult but I am trying. I can understand the manager now when he is speaking to me, which is probably the most important thing.

“In terms of the changing room, it probably makes it harder for me to learn because all the lads speak really good English. So whenever someone speaks to me, they speak to me in English.

“But I am still trying to learn and I think eventually I will get there. I’m good at understanding. Speaking is difficult but I will get there eventually.”

Ferguson won his sixth cap when he replaced John McGinn in the 83rd minute of Scotland’s 2-0 win over Spain in their previous game.

His only start so far came in a friendly against Austria and he faces fierce competition against the likes of Callum McGregor, McGinn, Scott McTominay, Ryan Christie and Stuart Armstrong.

Ferguson has age and versatility on his side – he can play anywhere in central midfield – and he is prepared to bide his time.

The former Hamilton player said: “It’s healthy, the manager will want that sort of competition, and especially the midfield, it’s a really, really high level, some top players playing at the top level for us and their clubs as well.

“It’s difficult to break in but I know I need to improve and I need to keep getting better. I think I have improved over the last year and I just need to keep doing that, keep working away.

“Obviously you need to be patient when the guys in front of you have played at a really high level for Scotland. I will work as hard as I possibly can and try and catch the manager’s eye in training.”