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Aberdeen midfielder Lewis Ferguson aims to deliver goals to edge race for third after given attacking licence by boss Stephen Glass

Aberdeen's Lewis Ferguson celebrates making it 1-0 against Celtic.
Aberdeen's Lewis Ferguson celebrates making it 1-0 against Celtic.

Midfielder Lewis Ferguson aims to capitalise on his new attacking freedom by delivering the goals to win the race for third.

Scotland Under-21 international Ferguson insists he is thriving in the more advanced role under manager Stephen Glass.

Since arriving at Pittodrie, Glass has given the 21-year-old more licence to push into the opponent’s penalty area from midfield.

Ferguson is loving the freedom of the role and aims to deliver goals in the season finale with the Reds still to face Hibs and Rangers.

That begins tomorrow in the must-win clash against third-placed Hibs at Pittodrie.

Ferguson said: “I have been given the licence to get in the box and hopefully get more goals.

“That is what I want to do.

“We are playing with two number eights, a holding midfielder and a number six.

“The two number eights have the licence to go hit the box and also drop in when needed into a deeper position and get on the ball.

“When the ball does go forward and into the wide areas, I have the licence to go and hit the box and get on the end of as many crosses or chances that open up.

“I am really enjoying it and I want to score another couple of goals before the season is finished.”

That new role paid off in the 1-1 draw with Celtic recently when Ferguson, in a man-of-the-match box-to-box shift, netted his first goal for six months.

Ferguson could easily have hit a hat-trick against Celtic as he was denied by two superb saves by keeper Scott Bain and the midfielder also hit the post.

He also had efforts on target in the recent 2-1 defeat of Livingston.

Lewis Ferguson touch-map in 2-1 defeat of Livingston. Supplied by Opta.
Lewis Ferguson touch map for 1-1 draw with Celtic. Supplied by Opta
Lewis Ferguson touch map in the 0-0 draw with Hamilton, the final game under former manager Derek McInnes. Supplied by Opta

Ferguson is Aberdeen’s top scorer on 10 goals for the season, but prior to his opener against Celtic last month had suffered a goal drought.

He had not scored since netting two penalties in the 3-3 draw with Celtic at Pittodrie on October 25.

When scoring that brace from the spot in October, Ferguson had netted six goals in the previous five matches.

However, the goals for the midfielder, and Aberdeen, soon dried up.

Aberdeen’s Lewis Ferguson (left) celebrates his goal in the 1-1 draw with Celtic in April this year.

From the turn of the year, Aberdeen suffered a major slump with the Reds hitting the back of the net just five times in 12 Premiership games.

In February, the Dons, in losing 1-0 to Celtic, set an unwanted record for the longest run of games without scoring.

It was the first time Aberdeen had failed to score in six successive games in the club’s 118-year history.

The paucity of goals continued and ultimately precipitated the exit of McInnes.

Under Glass, the Reds have looked more potent in attack and delivered goals, albeit apart from the disappointing 3-0 Scottish Cup quarter-final loss to Dundee United.

However, Glass and assistant Allan Russell have kept the bid to finish third in the Premiership, and the season, alive.

Aberdeen trail third-placed Hibs by three points ahead of tomorrow’s must-win showdown in the Granite City.

If the Dons beat Hibs to take the race for third to the final day of the season they will have to take something from the trip to Premiership champions Rangers.

The Ibrox club will be celebrating the league title at home on Saturday – and the Dons will have to ruin the party to overtake Hibs.

After a tough season, Ferguson insists it is vital Aberdeen go into a season of transition and rebuilding with positive momentum.

Glass will strengthen the squad in the summer and has already secured Motherwell’s Scotland international defender Declan Gallagher, Celtic captain Scott Brown and Oldham Athletic keeper Gary Woods.

Gallagher and Brown are both free agents and will join on two-year contracts in the summer.

Currently on loan at Pittodrie, Woods’ contract at Oldham expires at the end of the season and he too will join the Dons on a two-year deal.

Lewis Ferguson hits the post for Aberdeen in the second half against Celtic.

Aberdeen boss Glass is also keen on landing former Aberdeen defender Clark Robertson, who is out of contract at Rotherham, with the team recently relegated from the Championship.

St Mirren attacking midfielder Jamie McGrath is also on Glass’ radar, although the former Republic of Ireland U21 cap has a year left on his contract, so, if the Dons were to make their interest concrete, it would take a substantial six-figure sum to tempt the Buddies to sell.

Ferguson said: “It is important to finish strongly as it has been a difficult season for everybody.

“I thought we started the season really well, but it took a big dip and we hit a bad patch that was really hard to come out of.

“It has been a really difficult season, but we can make it end on a high by getting maximum points.

“You don’t want to end the season going through a difficult spell, because it might just linger and hang with you over the summer.

“You want to go out on a high, with a smile on your face and itching to get back for the new season.”