After the Dons’ troubled start to 2020, midfielder Lewis Ferguson believes confidence and belief have returned at the right time to secure success.
Despite a dismal dip in form on the return from the Premiership winter shut-down, Aberdeen are still fighting on both fronts to bag Europe and cup glory.
Securing a Scottish Cup semi-final slot against holders Celtic at Hampden on Sunday April 12 re-injected belief within the Dons’ squad.
Now 20-year-old Fergie has called on Aberdeen to maintain that positive momentum by taking control of the race for Europe.
Aberdeen trail third-placed Motherwell by a single point and can leapfrog the Steelmen into that third spot – which brings automatic European qualification – when the sides clash at Fir Park on Friday night.
Ferguson said: “Motherwell are a point ahead of us, so we have the chance to jump ahead of them.
“It is a big opportunity for us.
“In the past couple of weeks since the win at Kilmarnock (4-3 after extra-time), we have got that wee bit of belief that we needed. That wee bit of spark to try to kick on.
“We will get a good week’s training and go into the Motherwell game hoping to get all three points and third spot.”
Aberdeen narrowed the gap on Motherwell to just a single point when battling back from behind to defeat 10-man Hibs 3-1.
It was the first Premiership win of 2020 at Pittodrie and ended a concerning run of four straight league defeats on home soil.
Scotland U21 international Ferguson said: “We have suffered some sore ones at home.
“However, in the first half of the season not many teams were coming up to Pittodrie and picking up points.
“That is the way it should be.
“We are a difficult team to play against and we should be winning every game here (at Pittodrie).”
Ferguson’s contribution in a more advanced midfield role was pivotal to the comeback victory that edged the Reds closer to ‘Well, who drew 1-1 at Hearts.
Hibs were also reduced to 10 men when Steven Whittaker was shown two yellow cards, both for fouls on Ferguson.
The former Hamilton player said: “I just kept chipping away and tried to play in and around him (Whittaker) and be a wee bit more sharper than him.
“At half-time a few of the boys were telling me to get in and around him and he will give fouls away. The first time the ball broke I thought I could get in front of him, but he smashed me.
“He deserved to see red and from then on we kicked on.
“Whittaker getting sent off gave us a wee lift and then the goal came soon after.
“After that it was all about piling the pressure on and being smart with our work.
“At times when other teams have gone down to 10 men we have not been that smart with our work.
“We did that against Hibs. From then on we kicked on and got the second goal.”
Aberdeen were frustrated when a penalty call was waved away by referee John Beaton when Ferguson was brought down by Greg Docherty within minutes of going 1-0 down.
Ferguson said: “I got my body in the way and tried to roll him.
“When I was about to pull the trigger I felt as if I got a wee tug back. I will need to watch it back as these things happen so quickly.”
Aberdeen fought back from behind via an own goal from Adam Jackson before strikes from Andy Considine and Curtis Main.
Ferguson said: “The message at half-time was to go out and keep applying pressure on Hibs because we were sure we would get chances.”
The midfielder’s father Derek was at Pittodrie working as a radio commentator.
He was delighted to send his father, a former Rangers, Hearts and Sunderland midfielder, home happy.
He said: “It was good that he came to watch me as he is usually working at another game and listening on his headphones.
“It was good to have him up here and give him a win to go back down the road smiling.”