LEWIS FERGUSON has achieved two international goals already in his career. And he hopes adding to his Aberdeen tally will help him make his mark with Scotland.

The midfielder has been capped at Under-19 and Under-21 levels for his country but has yet to make the transition into the full squad. Given his performances and his potential, it seems a matter of when, not if, for Ferguson.

Steve Clarke will name his squad for the play-off clash with Israel in the coming weeks and only time will tell if Ferguson makes the cut. As he prepared for the second half of the campaign at Aberdeen’s training camp in Dubai, his ambition was clear.

“I think it’s every boy’s dream and aspiration to play for their country,” Ferguson said. “It’s always been one for me.

“When I was younger, it was to get into the Under-19 squad, then 21s. The next step after that is obviously the senior squad so that is an aspiration of mine to go and play there.

“Whether it is this year or next, it is always in the back of my head. Scotland have some big games coming up and they are ones everyone wants to play in. Huge games with a lot of pressure on them.

“I’m pretty sure every player who is fit will be looking to get into that squad because the games are so important.”

The dream of pulling on a Scotland shirt is one that every kid in the country will share but Ferguson has significant hurdles to overcome if that is to become a reality.

The middle of the park is the strongest area of Clarke’s side and competition for places is fierce. But the absences of John McGinn and Scott McTominay could open the door for new faces to earn a shot as Scotland bid for a Euro 2020 berth.

“There are a lot of top players in there,” Ferguson said. “All the boys in the middle of the park are top level. You have Premier League guys playing week in, week out and you can’t get much better than the best league in the world.

“It’s aim for me to get to that level. I’m not quite there yet, but that is the aim. You can only look up and try and get better to get as close to them as possible.

“Those (McGinn and McTominay) are two important Premier League players and it does open the door. It opens the door for a lot of Scottish midfielders and I’m sure we will all be looking at that spot if it is up for grabs and the boys don’t make it back in time.

“For the moment, I just have to look to perform as well as I can for Aberdeen and hopefully good things will come.”

Given the progress he has made in recent years, it seems sure that Ferguson will make the transition into the Scotland squad at some stage of his career.

The 20-year-old has been a solid performer for Aberdeen once again this term and has stood up to be counted while experienced players have been on the treatment table.

“With the guys who have been out injured the responsibility has to fall on someone,” Ferguson said. “Guys like Craig (Bryson) and Funso (Ojo) have been out for a while so I knew I needed to shoulder some of the responsibility.

“I know I am still young, but it was something I was conscious of and I felt I had to take it on.

“We didn’t have the experience we wanted in there, but I’m in a position where you need to take responsibility.

“It’s something I would never shy away from, I enjoy it can only help me as a player and as a person.

“I enjoy all aspects of football, I try to take things in my stride. We have Dylan (McGeough) in there now and Craig will help me too.”

The arrival of McGeough from Sunderland was a major boost for boss Derek McInnes as he put his players through their paces in Dubai.

And it could signal a shift in position for Ferguson as the Dons attempt to once again finish best of the rest in the Premiership and prolong their run in the Scottish Cup this term.

“We are aiming for that third spot,” Ferguson said. “I think it will be too difficult to claw back the Old Firm.

“They are pulling away from everybody. Of course, we want to get as close to them as possible so that is our immediate aim.

“At times I have been playing a lot deeper this season, because of the injuries I haven’t got as far forward as I would have liked. I want to add goals to my game and that’s another obvious target for me.

“I think we have a good balance to our midfield now. I have spoken to the manager and hopefully I will be able to find the freedom to push forward.

“I want to help big Sam and chip in with some goals. I think that’s something we are all working towards.”