Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes has tipped Lewis Ferguson for a big future in the game after his impressive impact in the 3-1 defeat to Burnley.
The Dons exited the Europa League at Turf Moor, going down 4-2 on aggregate, but Ferguson’s overhead kick in the first half gave the visitors a huge jolt in the arm as they looked to secure a major upset.
Ferguson arrived from Hamilton Accies in the summer and there is still a tribunal to be held, on August 21, to determine the compensation Aberdeen will have to pay the Lanarkshire side for his services.
But after impressing in pre-season and going toe-to-toe with more imposing central midfielders in the two legs against Burnley, McInnes believes he has a real burgeoning prospect on his hands.
McInnes said: “I thought he epitomised a lot of my team. The focus is on him because he’s so young, but he has that personality and confidence. He is having to learn quickly. He is an outstanding young man who will only get better.
“Nothing fazes him and that’s what I love about him. He is only 18 but technically and physically he can handle it against proper men.
“When he gets moments to light up the game and shows he’s more than that, he took his goal fantastically well.”
The night was ultimately to end in disappointment for the Dons, with Jack Cork and Ashley Barnes netting in extra time. Chris Wood had given the Clarets a sixth-minute lead before Ferguson’s phenomenal leveller.
The game went to extra-time largely due to the performance of Aberdeen goalkeeper Joe Lewis, who made several key saves, namely from Sam Vokes and Barnes, to ensure the score on the evening remained 1-1 at 90 minutes.
McInnes added: “Joe Lewis showed tonight how good he is, he can play in any league. He’s made some brilliant saves, which you need to do.
“The players were down in the dressing room after the game but they produced a great level of performance over the two matches.
“They went toe to toe with a team from the Premier League. We created good chances and the players will be kicking themselves at not making more of those opportunities.
“I’m proud of my players, the supporters and the club. Ultimately we’re disappointed but we wish Burnley well.”
Cork, who netted on his 100th appearance for the Clarets, said: “Aberdeen gave us two tough games. It could have gone either way, especially before extra time. We are really happy to get through and carry on this European run.
“It has been 50-odd years since the club was last in Europe. It is great for the fans to experience something different.”