Scotland v Andorra
UEFA European Under-21 Championship Qualifier
Thursday, 6 September 2018
Tynecastle Park, Edinburgh
Scot Gemmill’s side are back in action tomorrow night in the UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifier against Andorra, looking to build on their run to the semi-final stage of the prestigious Toulon tournament in the summer.
A first Scotland Under-21 call-up capped a dream start to the season for Aberdeen midfielder Lewis Ferguson.
The 19-year-old has hit the ground running at Pittodrie since his summer switch from Hamilton and established himself as a first-team regular under Derek McInnes.
There’s also the small matter of a first senior goal in the form of an overhead kick in the Dons’ Europa League tie against Burnley.
Now the son of Scotland international Derek Ferguson and nephew of former national team captain Barry can’t wait to create his own memories in the famous dark blue shirt.
Congratulations on your first call-up for the Under-21s, Lewis. Did it come out of the blue?
It wasn’t something I’d allowed myself to really think about. My priority had been to try and settle in and play as much as possible at Aberdeen. I always enjoyed playing for the Scotland Under-19s, especially as I hadn’t featured at any of the age levels below that. It was obviously a goal to move to the next level but it’s come sooner than I could have hoped for.
You’ll know a few of Scot Gemmill’s squad from those trips away with the Under-19s.
Yeah, that’s helped me settle in. There’s Ryan Porteous, Mikey Johnston and Fraser Hornby. They’re all good boys and did really well when they were given their chance at the Toulon tournament in the summer.
It’s topped a whirlwind couple of months for you. How do you look back on it all?
It’s flown in, to be honest. When I moved to Aberdeen a lot of people didn’t think I would play as much as I have. They said I might have to be patient but the only thing I had on my mind was to force myself into the starting line-up. I did that and it’s gone from there. In terms of the goal against Burnley, I will admit to having watched that a good few times. It’s not the type of goal I make a habit of unfortunately. Those ones normally only ever come off in training. It was just instinctive.
What are your memories of the goal itself?
Nothing! When I hooked the ball over my head I landed on my back. It was in by the time I turned around. I heard the fans and that was the first I knew of it. I didn’t even get to see it back until the next day because the extra time meant we were in such a rush to get home afterwards.
It’s been your first time away from home, so you’re out of your comfort zone in more ways than one.
I’m in a flat myself and I do feel I’ve had to grow up a bit. I can’t rely on my Mum for everything now! My cooking’s come on. Chicken and rice is the go-to dish but I have attempted to cook a steak a couple of times. I’m getting there. Seriously, though, it’s been brilliant. The players and staff have been great with me so it’s been easy to settle in. I knew Mikey Devlin from my time at Hamilton but, beyond him, we’re fortunate to have a really close dressing room of players.
Playing for Scotland obviously runs in the family. What are your recollections of your Dad and Uncle’s exploits?
I was too young to see Dad in action, beyond the odd game towards the end of his career when he was at Hamilton. I’ve seen a few clips on YouTube. I saw a lot more of Barry’s career. We were always big Scotland fans. We’d get together and watch the games. We were proud to be Scottish and got behind the country like everyone else. My parents were delighted when I got the call-up. It means a lot.
Your Aberdeen team-mate, Frank Ross, is also celebrating a first call-up to the Under-21s after Scott Wright’s withdrawal through injury. What can we expect from him?
Frank’s had a really good start to the season. He’s unplayable sometimes in training. He has ridiculously quick feet and can play off either foot. He has that burst of pace and he always wants to take people on, which makes defenders uncomfortable. He’s direct and skilful.
What’s your target for this first trip away?
It’s a bit like going to Aberdeen. I don’t just want to make up the numbers. I want to make as good an impression as I can on the staff and see where that takes me. I’d like to play, show what I can do and prove I have what it takes to stay in the squad. We’ll obviously be expected to beat Andorra but it’s never a given. We’ll have to earn it. As far as the second game goes, I was part of a Scotland Under-19 team that beat Netherlands so that was a lesson to play the game rather than the occasion. You can’t be intimidated by the opposition and the boys obviously did well to beat them at home earlier in the campaign. I’d like to think we could do the same again if everyone plays to their potential.
Fans who have tickets should enter via Main Stand turnstiles 17-36.
Tickets are on sale now and will be available on the night. The Hearts ticket office is open for sales until 6.30pm, thereafter tickets can be purchased via Gorgie turnstiles 37-46.
SSC Members: Free
SSC Members should go to the ticket office with a valid membership card to obtain their free ticket before going to turnstiles. The ticket office will be open until kick-off for SSC Members.
Watch the Match online
If you can't make it to Tynecastle for the match, the match will be streamed across the Scotland National Team social media channels:
Scotland Under-21 Squad
Ryan Fulton (Hamilton Academical)
Robby McCrorie (Rangers)
Ross Doohan (Celtic*)
Ross McCrorie (Ranger)
David Bates (Hamburg)
Tom McIntyre (Reading)
Ryan Porteous (Hibernian)
Liam Smith (Ayr United)
Greg Taylor (Kilmarnock)
Chris Cadden (Motherwell)
Allan Campbell (Motherwell)
Lewis Ferguson (Aberdeen)
Billy Gilmour (Chelsea)
Michael Johnston (Celtic)
Stephen Mallan (Hibernian)
Kyle Magennis (St Mirren)
Iain Wilson (Kilmarnock)
Ryan Williamson (Dunfermline Athletic)
Fraser Hornby (Everton)
Frank Ross (Aberdeen)
Oliver Shaw (Hibernian)
*On loan at Ayr United