Aberdeen 1-0 Rangers: Lewis Ferguson ‘born to play at Hampden’ – Derek McInnes
Aberdeen’s League Cup semi-final match-winner Lewis Ferguson is “a dream of a boy” who was “born to play” in big games, says manager Derek McInnes.
The 19-year-old midfielder, son of former Rangers player Derek and nephew of Ibrox legend Barry, was signed from Hamilton in the summer.
His 79th-minute header booked the Dons a final with Celtic on 2 December.
“He’s a natural footballer, he was born to play at Hampden, and he’s going to have a fantastic career,” McInnes said.
“I always felt he was going to be an important player for me quickly.”
McInnes believes “a big element” of Aberdeen’s support expected their team to lose to Rangers in Sunday’s semi-final.
The Dons are five points behind Steven Gerrard’s side in the Scottish Premiership and McInnes “gets why” some saw them as underdogs.
“Not a lot of people would have given us much hope today,” he said.
“I know how important it is for the club to beat Rangers in Glasgow. Our club’s best success has been built on teams who did win in Glasgow and went on to win silverware. Hopefully we can do that again.”
The cup final against Brendan Rodgers’ team – again at Hampden – will be Aberdeen’s fourth since McInnes took charge in 2013. They won the 2014 League Cup final on penalties against Inverness Caledonian Thistle but lost to Celtic in the finals of both the League Cup and Scottish Cup in 2016-17.
Ferguson’s header was decisive in a game where Rangers, without the suspended Alfredo Morelos and cup-tied Kyle Lafferty, mustered 15 shots, but only one on target.
“I thought they ran out of ideas, they huffed and puffed, threw crosses in from too deep, shot from too far out,” said McInnes, whose side have won just three of nine league games this term.
“We’ve played St Mirren [in the League Cup second round], Hibs at Easter Road [in the quarter-finals], Rangers at Hampden – we’ve not conceded. To win the cup, we’ve got to beat Celtic. There’s not many teams win a cup beating that calibre of opposition. If we go and win it we’ve thoroughly deserved it.
“While we’re still getting our team up to full speed and finding out about our players, it’s good that we can get the club into another cup final.”
McInnes confirmed defender Andrew Considine is “absolutely fine” after being taken to hospital following an aerial collision.
“There’s no concussion. He landed on his neck and the medical staff didn’t want to take any chances with the pain in his neck. We’ll see how he is tomorrow,” the Dons boss added.
‘You don’t want to win like that’ – analysis
Former Aberdeen captain Willie Miller on BBC Radio Scotland’s Sportsound
There are many ways of winning games, but you don’t want to win like that, backs-to-the-wall. You’ll take any win, but if you can do it with a bit of flair, if you can do it with domination then that’s the way you prefer to do it.
I didn’t think Aberdeen defended that well. They’ve been better than that this season. They left gaps and there was uncertainty between the defenders.
You absolutely take the victory, they showed a lot of courage, determination, they dug in, they took everything Rangers had to throw at them.