It’s been a whirlwind 12 months for Lewis Ferguson and he wants to cap it off by reaching the Scottish Cup final.
In the space of a year he has gone from someone breaking into the Hamilton first team to becoming one of Scotland’s brightest young talents and an Aberdeen mainstay.
The teenager has been involved as the Dons battled Burnley in the Europa League at the start of the season and also helped them reach the League Cup final in December.
He will be a key player on Sunday as the Reds look to beat Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-final. And Ferguson is pleased with how he has taken to life in the Granite City, both on and off the pitch.
The 19-year-old said: “It was a massive change for me.
“I always thought it would be weird moving away from my family and my mum especially, who did everything for me.
“Moving away, you get a bit of a reality check in terms of having to do everything myself and having to look after myself.
“When I came into the club it was so easy to get along with everybody and that helped me.
“I don’t look back on things too much – I’m usually looking ahead and taking things as they come – but when I do look back on it it is a bit weird to see where I am.
“This time last year I was in and around Hamilton’s first team and just breaking into that side. No disrespect to them but it was down near the bottom of the table.
“Now to be at a top side at the top end of the table and playing in semi-finals and finals is something I am really proud of.”
Aberdeen have already faced Sunday’s opponents at Hampden once this season, with the Hoops edging the League Cup final 1-0.
Although he felt the Dons were unfortunate to lose that clash, Ferguson wants to learn from the experience.
He said: “There’s motivation and learning curves to take from the League Cup final. We played so well and we deserved more from that game.
“In a final or semi-final it’s the fine margins that win it.
“On that occasion they had the extra wee bit of quality.
“It will be the same on Sunday – it will be fine margins and the slightest of things.
“It will be difficult, as it always is when you play Celtic, but I don’t think you get an easy semi-final whoever you play.
“When you look at Celtic there hasn’t really been much change at all since Brendan Rodgers left and Neil Lennon came back.
“They have great players and players who can hurt teams, but, if we all prepare the way we should and go in with the right mindset, I’m sure we can go on and win.”
Ferguson may have to assume some extra responsibility against Celtic with captain Graeme Shinnie suspended.
It’s the second year in a row the midfielder has missed a Scottish Cup semi-final and Ferguson is keen to reach the final for his skipper.
He said: “It will be difficult not having Graeme there because I’m so used to him just being there and being all over the pitch.
“But I’m sure whoever comes in, whether it’s Dean Campbell, Stephen Gleeson or somebody else, they will come in and do just as good a job.
“That’s because they are top players and we see them every day in training and see how good they are.
“Training isn’t something the fans see so they maybe don’t see as much of them but they are top players who will slot straight in there.
“Shinnie being out gives me a lot of motivation because I can put myself in his shoes.
“He is at a club he loves. Last year he missed the semi-final, which was gutting, and it’s happened again this year. So it gives me extra motivation to get through because I am a similar player to Shinnie in that I’m very driven and love to play.
“So if I put myself in his shoes and it was me that was suspended, I would want the boys to win it – not just for me but for the whole club.
“So I would love to help us get to a final for Shinnie.”