Former Ross County midfielder Steven Ferguson insists nephew Jason Cummings is a role model for any youngster – but admits the Hibs striker cannot count on his support in Sunday’s League Cup final.
Ferguson, who is now the Staggies’ head of youth development having served the club for eight years as a player, has watched on with immense pride as the 20-year-old has established himself as one of the most sought-after players in Scotland.
And after Cummings fought back from the crushing blow of being released at Hearts four years ago, having been plagued by injury, Ferguson now uses the marksman’s remarkable journey to stardom to inspire the kids he coaches in the Highlands.
But Ferguson – brother of Cummings’ mum Tracey – is in no doubt where his loyalties lie on Sunday.
He said: “Jason is my nephew so there’s a wee bit of extra spice attached to this final.
“I’m a proud uncle but I’m delighted for my sister because she has been the guiding light for him.
“But let’s make this clear, I want Ross County to win the final – although there are probably a few family members sitting on the fence.
“It should be a great day as both teams like to attack. Jason is obviously doing fantastically well for the goals he has scored and I think this game will suit him, he seems to score goals in the big games.
“It’s not just Jason, Hibs have an array of talent but there is no doubt that Jason will be a major threat on Sunday.”
Ferguson, who served as assistant manager to Derek Adams at County, is now charged with nurturing the stars of the future in Dingwall.
And the 38-year-old insists his nephew’s tale of bouncing back from being thrown on the scrap heap is one he uses to rally the youngsters he coaches.
Ferguson added: “Jason is a great example for any young player.
“He obviously got released from a club. To have the confidence to come back and get fit from two serious injuries and get himself to a cup final is great.
“I now work as head of youth for County and Jason is a role model for any player in terms of working hard and believing you’re good enough to make it.
“I use him as an example and I make no apology for that. If you’re a young player and you pick up a serious injury, you think your world has ended but he had the strength of character to come back form it.
“There’s a physical element to it in coming back but a huge factor is also the mental strength.
“Young players can give up hope following a serious injury but it just shows how mentally strong Jason is.
“It shows in his play as well, he goes into every game believing he will score.”