Scotland boss Steve Clarke is a long-time admirer of new boy Lewis Ferguson

Steve Clarke spoke of his long-term admiration for Lewis Ferguson after giving the midfielder his first Scotland call-up on his 22nd birthday.

The Aberdeen player was included in Scotland’s squad for the World Cup qualifiers against against Denmark, Moldova and Austria next month as Scott McTominay missed out after Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed earlier this week he was struggling with injury.

Clarke, who on Tuesday signed a contract extension that takes him through to the end of the Euro 2024 campaign,  has been keeping tabs on Ferguson for a while and had him on standby for this summer’s delayed 2020 Euros.

He said: “I have always liked Lewis and I have kept an eye on his progress.

“He has always done very well with Aberdeen. When I was Kilmarnock manager we rarely beat Aberdeen, they always had a little hoodoo over us and Lewis was a big part of that.

“I like what he gives box-to-box, he can do the defensive part and is a strong boy.

“I actually spoke to Lewis in the summer about keeping fit just in case we got some injuries or Covid issues during the tournament, I asked him to keep fit.

“So he is someone I have been thinking about for a little while and with Scott McTominay missing out it is a chance to put Lewis in.”

Clarke will keep his fingers crossed that his players will come through this week’s club fixtures unscathed.

He said: “There are still some games midweek. European games for the Scottish clubs and League Cup games for the English boys.

“Then there’s a full fixture programme at the weekend.

“Unfortunately, we’ll have a lot of players involved on the Sunday and we play on the Wednesday night, so it is going to be quite a stressful weekend for me I think waiting to see who’s fit and who’s not.”