Dons boss Derek McInnes today backed teenage midfielder Lewis Ferguson to become a future Scotland international.
Which is why he reckons securing the teen on a two-year contract extension until summer 2024 is fantastic business for the club.
Ferguson has been rewarded for a sensational debut season at Pittodrie where he has scored key goals in big games and become a regular first-team starter.
Already capped at Under-21 level since signing on at Aberdeen, the Dons gaffer is convinced the next logical step while at Pittodrie will be into Alex McLeish’s senior Scotland squad.
McInnes said: “I want him to be a key player for us over the forthcoming years and eventually I think he can play in the national team and be a key player for them.
“That is the aim for Lewis.
“I say that without putting too much pressure on Lewis, not that I think it would bother him.
“There is still loads of improvements to come from him.
“Both Lewis and I know that but he has certainly dealt with everything that has come his way so far.
“You wouldn’t bet against Lewis going on to have a proper, proper career as every indication is certainly there that could be the case.”
McInnes witnessed Ferguson’s talent, maturity and drive while watching him in action at former club Hamilton last season.
But it took the teen’s first training session at Pittodrie following his summer move to convince McInnes he had signed a real talent.
Despite having started only 15 senior career games for Accies, Ferguson impressed enough for McInnes to pitch him in at the deep end in the first game of the season, the Europa League second qualifying round tie against Burnley
A debut against an English Premier League side in Europe. Sink or swim for an inexperienced teen. He excelled in the 1-1 draw.
Ferguson then announced himself fully and paid back McInnes’ faith with a memorable overhead-kick goal in the return leg, a 3-1 extra-time loss at Turf Moor.
McInnes said: “Even from day one when he came in here on the first day of testing, Lewis impressed us. Lewis was determined to make sure on testing no one could say I thought he was fitter or I thought he could be more determined.
“Lewis could not have put any more into his first day of testing.
“He left everything out there and impressed everyone from minute one and is still doing that.”
Ferguson is the latest rising star to be secured on an extended, long-term deal at Pittodrie.
This season winger Connor McLennan, striker Bruce Anderson and midfielder Dean Campbell all signed new deals until 2021.
The long-term future of leading scorer Sam Cosgrove, 22, was also secured last month when he signed a contract extension until summer 2022.
Scotland international centre-back Scott McKenna was secured on an extended contract until summer 2021 in October 2017. The following March, McKenna, the subject of a rejected £7 million bid from Aston Villa last summer, again extended that deal until 2023.
McInnes said: “We should take a breath to be really pleased with Lewis signing an extension.
“So often I have to speak about the difficulty of retaining players and keeping good young players.
“We have always done that well at Aberdeen and managed to keep them for a period of time.
“Sometimes there comes a natural parting of ways, but securing Lewis is good business.
“Supporters I am sure will be delighted he has shown that commitment.
“Lewis’ family, his agent and Lewis himself have all stressed how happy he is here.”