Lewis Ferguson’s Italian Renaissance

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Rising high above everyone in the Bologna sky, Lewis Ferguson thunders home a header, from a corner, to open the scoring against Atalanta last December.


By Ross Kilvington


The goal sealed a 1-0 win for Bologna and continued their fine start to the 2023/24 campaign, yet it had an even greater significance for the Scottish midfielder.

Once the ball nestled into the net, Ferguson became the highest scoring Scotsman in Serie A. His 11th goal surpassed greats such as Denis Law (10), Graeme Souness (8) and Joe Baker (7), since adding another two goals to make it 13 in the Italian top flight.

Looking at his performances this season, it is hard to fathom that he was playing for Hamilton Academical just six years ago, but his rise should ignite confidence among young players in his homeland who seek brighter lights.

The midfielder has worked hard for years to become an overnight success and his displays for Bologna this season could catapult him to even bigger things in the future.

Humble beginnings

While nothing is set in stone in the world of football, it was clear Ferguson was going to make the grade at senior level. His father, Derek, played 148 times for Rangers between 1983 and 1990, while Barry, his uncle, made 428 appearances during his spell at the Ibrox side.

Despite spending time as a youngster at Rangers, it was Hamilton who gave him his senior bow during the 2017/18 season before signing for Aberdeen in 2018.

Family ties to Rangers clearly proved not to be a problem for the talented midfielder as he began to make the North East his own.

The next four seasons saw Ferguson make 169 appearances for the Dons as he emerged as one of the finest young players in the Premiership. His big game mentality was also apparent, scoring the winner against Rangers – much to the displeasure of Derek and Barry – in the 2018 League Cup semi-final.

By the summer of 2022, his displays were beginning to attract attention and it was clear that Aberdeen had to cash in on their prized asset.

The Italian adventure begins

There were rumours that Rangers were tracking his progress with regards to making a move, but Aberdeen were never going to let him move to another club in Scotland.

Enter Bologna. The Serie A side completed the signing of the player for a fee of just £3m in July 2022. Not only was this a good deal for Aberdeen, but it has since turned out to be an absolute steal for Bologna, especially with how well he settled during his maiden season in Emilia-Romagna.

While a ninth placed finish in the top flight was respectable, the performances of Ferguson indicated that he may not be at the club for very long.

Typically operating in an attacking midfield position, Ferguson scored seven goals in 32 Serie A matches throughout the season. Many felt it was perhaps a one season success story, yet he has continued to mature and his statistics during 2023/24 have been sensational thus far.

Thiago Motta took over from the late Siniša Mihajlović in September 2022, gradually working his magic with the Italian side.

Motta has his team playing a possession based system by utilising a 4-2-3-1 formation, which plays exactly into Ferguson’s hands.

At the time of writing, Bologna occupy fourth place in the league, three points clear of AS Roma, with the Scot shining in the number ten role.

While he drags opposition defenders out of space, often in order, to create space for the likes of Joshua Zirkzee, the Scot has proven to be just as big a danger in the final third.

Indeed, the 24-year-old has created 30 chances in Serie A so far this term along with managing 54 shots and taking 73 touches in the opposition penalty area.

Whilst these are impressive, it is perhaps his passing abilities that rank him as one of the finest midfielders in Serie A.

This season, Ferguson ranks in the top 2.4% when it comes to successful passes in the Italian top flight (50.7 per 90), while ranking in the top 3.7% for pass accuracy (88.2% per 90), suggesting that the Scot is at ease with dictating the play during games.

His main focus will be to maintain this level of performance over the next couple of months in order to seal a place in Scotland’s Euro 2024 squad, although this already seems like a foregone conclusion.

A better question to ask would be just exactly what role will Ferguson have in the Scotland side that make their way to Germany for just their fourth ever European Championship finals?

Scotland could be dark horses at Euro 2024

Steve Clarke recently admitted that he will keep faith with the players who helped Scotland qualify for the tournament in Germany, but Ferguson had to rely on appearances off the bench against Spain, Georgia, and Norway, totalling just 72 minutes of action.

Clarke used a 4-3-3 system against Georgia before deploying a 4-2-3-1 formation against the Norwegians a few days later. With a plethora of midfield options to choose from, John McGinn and Scott McTominay look virtually guaranteed to secure a place in the starting XI against Germany in the opening game on June 14th.

The Scotland manager may have a harder time filling in the rest of the gaps, but Ferguson should certainly be included in the conversations for a place in the lineup for the clash in Munich.

Slotting in behind someone like Lawrence Shankland, who has scored 27 times for Hearts this season, could see Scotland offer plenty of attacking threat against a frail German defence.

Becoming the highest scoring Scot in Serie A while being named captain of Bologna imply this season has already been a glowing success.

Starring for Scotland at a major international tournament? Now that would be the icing on the cake.


(Cover image from IMAGO)


You can follow every Bologna game on FotMob – with deep stats, xG, and players ratings. Download the free app here.

Lewis Ferguson’s Italian Renaissance

Rising high above everyone in the Bologna sky, Lewis Ferguson thunders home a header, from a corner, to open the scoring against Atalanta last December.


By Ross Kilvington


The goal sealed a 1-0 win for Bologna and continued their fine start to the 2023/24 campaign, yet it had an even greater significance for the Scottish midfielder.

Once the ball nestled into the net, Ferguson became the highest scoring Scotsman in Serie A. His 11th goal surpassed greats such as Denis Law (10), Graeme Souness (8) and Joe Baker (7), since adding another two goals to make it 13 in the Italian top flight.

Looking at his performances this season, it is hard to fathom that he was playing for Hamilton Academical just six years ago, but his rise should ignite confidence among young players in his homeland who seek brighter lights.

The midfielder has worked hard for years to become an overnight success and his displays for Bologna this season could catapult him to even bigger things in the future.

Humble beginnings

While nothing is set in stone in the world of football, it was clear Ferguson was going to make the grade at senior level. His father, Derek, played 148 times for Rangers between 1983 and 1990, while Barry, his uncle, made 428 appearances during his spell at the Ibrox side.

Despite spending time as a youngster at Rangers, it was Hamilton who gave him his senior bow during the 2017/18 season before signing for Aberdeen in 2018.

Family ties to Rangers clearly proved not to be a problem for the talented midfielder as he began to make the North East his own.

The next four seasons saw Ferguson make 169 appearances for the Dons as he emerged as one of the finest young players in the Premiership. His big game mentality was also apparent, scoring the winner against Rangers – much to the displeasure of Derek and Barry – in the 2018 League Cup semi-final.

By the summer of 2022, his displays were beginning to attract attention and it was clear that Aberdeen had to cash in on their prized asset.

The Italian adventure begins

There were rumours that Rangers were tracking his progress with regards to making a move, but Aberdeen were never going to let him move to another club in Scotland.

Enter Bologna. The Serie A side completed the signing of the player for a fee of just £3m in July 2022. Not only was this a good deal for Aberdeen, but it has since turned out to be an absolute steal for Bologna, especially with how well he settled during his maiden season in Emilia-Romagna.

While a ninth placed finish in the top flight was respectable, the performances of Ferguson indicated that he may not be at the club for very long.

Typically operating in an attacking midfield position, Ferguson scored seven goals in 32 Serie A matches throughout the season. Many felt it was perhaps a one season success story, yet he has continued to mature and his statistics during 2023/24 have been sensational thus far.

Thiago Motta took over from the late Siniša Mihajlović in September 2022, gradually working his magic with the Italian side.

Motta has his team playing a possession based system by utilising a 4-2-3-1 formation, which plays exactly into Ferguson’s hands.

At the time of writing, Bologna occupy fourth place in the league, three points clear of AS Roma, with the Scot shining in the number ten role.

While he drags opposition defenders out of space, often in order, to create space for the likes of Joshua Zirkzee, the Scot has proven to be just as big a danger in the final third.

Indeed, the 24-year-old has created 30 chances in Serie A so far this term along with managing 54 shots and taking 73 touches in the opposition penalty area.

Whilst these are impressive, it is perhaps his passing abilities that rank him as one of the finest midfielders in Serie A.

This season, Ferguson ranks in the top 2.4% when it comes to successful passes in the Italian top flight (50.7 per 90), while ranking in the top 3.7% for pass accuracy (88.2% per 90), suggesting that the Scot is at ease with dictating the play during games.

His main focus will be to maintain this level of performance over the next couple of months in order to seal a place in Scotland’s Euro 2024 squad, although this already seems like a foregone conclusion.

A better question to ask would be just exactly what role will Ferguson have in the Scotland side that make their way to Germany for just their fourth ever European Championship finals?

Scotland could be dark horses at Euro 2024

Steve Clarke recently admitted that he will keep faith with the players who helped Scotland qualify for the tournament in Germany, but Ferguson had to rely on appearances off the bench against Spain, Georgia, and Norway, totalling just 72 minutes of action.

Clarke used a 4-3-3 system against Georgia before deploying a 4-2-3-1 formation against the Norwegians a few days later. With a plethora of midfield options to choose from, John McGinn and Scott McTominay look virtually guaranteed to secure a place in the starting XI against Germany in the opening game on June 14th.

The Scotland manager may have a harder time filling in the rest of the gaps, but Ferguson should certainly be included in the conversations for a place in the lineup for the clash in Munich.

Slotting in behind someone like Lawrence Shankland, who has scored 27 times for Hearts this season, could see Scotland offer plenty of attacking threat against a frail German defence.

Becoming the highest scoring Scot in Serie A while being named captain of Bologna imply this season has already been a glowing success.

Starring for Scotland at a major international tournament? Now that would be the icing on the cake.


(Cover image from IMAGO)


You can follow every Bologna game on FotMob – with deep stats, xG, and players ratings. Download the free app here.