Aberdeen ace Lewis Ferguson has thanked boss Derek McInnes and his dad Derek for the soothing words which helped him recover from his Hampden red card.
The Dons midfielder has capped an impressive first year at Pittodrie by being nominated for the PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year award.
The 19-year-old made his move north from Hamilton last summer and quickly proved himself a key man in McInnes’ team with his mature displays in the heart of the action.
Ferguson pointed to his goal against English side Burnley in the Europa League and his winning header in the Dons’ Betfred Cup semi-final win over Rangers as his personal highlights of his first season in the Granite City.
But the National Stadium was also the scene of his lowest point in an Aberdeen shirt after he was sent off in last month’s William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final for a lunge on Celtic ace Tom Rogic.
The shocking tackle left his team – already a man down after Dominic Ball’s red card – in a perilous state and they were lucky to escape with a 3-0 pasting.
But Ferguson has revealed how reassuring talks with both his boss and his father – former Rangers ace Derek – helped ensure his regret did not spiral into a pit of self-pity.
“I made a mistake myself and hold my hands up to that,” said the former Accies ace. “I had a little chat with the manager the week after the game. He knows that I knew I’d made a mistake.
“The game was getting away from us and you know how it is out there, emotions run high. I was just a bit desperate for something to happen.
“I regret what happened and I felt for the players who were left out there because I let them down, I let the fans down and I let the staff down.
“I apologised for that because I’m the type of person who owns up when I do wrong.
“I also spoke to my dad when I got home that night. He’d been at Hampden watching and he understood what it’s like as he’s been out there when games are going like that.
“He just had a little chat with me which made me feel a bit better as it’s probably been the lowest I’ve been as an Aberdeen player.
“It was so disappointing but he told me the same as what the gaffer said, to move on and focus on the big games coming up.”
In fairness to Ferguson, he has refused to let his Hampden dismissal derail his season and he will now vie with Motherwell’s Jake Hastie and David Turnbull, and Rangers ace Ryan Kent for the union’s young player of the season prize.
He said: “I’m delighted to get nominated. It’s good to see that so many professionals that I’ve been playing against have noticed me.
“It makes it more special that this award is voted for by our fellow pros because I probably kicked them up and down the park a few times this season so I was quite surprised that they voted for me.”