‘Top-level' England are the benchmark for improving Scotland – Lewis Ferguson
Lewis Ferguson believes Scotland came up against a benchmark England side in their 3-1 defeat at Hampden Park.
In a challenge match to commemorate the first official international match between the two countries in 1872, the visitors were a class apart.
Goals from Phil Foden, the brilliant Jude Bellingham and skipper Harry Kane sealed a well-deserved victory against the Scots, whose only strike came courtesy of a Harry Maguire own goal.
After five straight Euro 2024 qualifying wins, it was a chastening night for Steve Clarke’s side and Ferguson gave due credit to Gareth Southgate’s men.
The 24-year-old Bologna midfielder said: “It was tough defeat, a difficult match. They are a top team and so that is the level we want to get to.
“In the first half we weren’t quite ourselves. We were better in the second half and got back in the game, but then the third goal kills it off.
“You are up against top-level guys playing at the highest possible level. It is good to test ourselves and see where we are as a team.
“We have talented players and at the top end of football it is fine margins.
“Over the past three or four years we have been improving every time we have come away with the national team, we have been working well and it is a positive place to be at the minute.
“We have so many talented, hungry players who want to keep improving and over the last three years we have done that. So the aim is to just to keep improving.”
Scotland went into the game on the back of a morale-boosting 3-0 win over Cyprus in Larnaca on Friday night.
But, in addition to defeat by the Auld Enemy, the Scots suffered further disappointment as the draw they needed between Norway and Georgia to confirm qualification for Euro 2024 failed to materialise.
The Norwegians ran out 2-1 winners in Oslo and, with Spain thrashing Cyprus 6-0 to go within six points of leaders Scotland having played a game fewer, there is still all to play for in Group A.
Scotland take on Spain away on October 12 before completing their qualification fixtures in November with games against Georgia and Norway.
Former Aberdeen playmaker Ferguson said: “The gaffer just said last night was disappointing but that the camp overall was positive.
“The main aim was three points in Cyprus, that was the most important game for us.
“Ultimately our aim is to qualify for the Euros next year and that was another step in doing so.
“We are in a great position. Last night was disappointing, a little set back ,but hopefully we can bounce back from that.”
Ferguson did not get off the bench in Larnaca and replaced McGinn with only eight minutes remaining.
The former Hamilton player has made just one start in seven appearances and he knows he will have to be patient as he waits for more game time.
He said: “I have spoken to the manager. I know I need to be patient and he said I will play minutes for him.
“The guys in midfield just now have been incredible in the past year or so, so I just need to be patient and, when I get my chance, take it.
“I am always positive and always real. I know where I am at and the lads that are playing – I know where they are at. I need to improve to get to that stage.
“It is all about being patient, keep improving every time I come away and hopefully get as many minutes as possible.”