The now-Clyde manager said: “Life is like Sliding Doors and I sometimes wonder how different it would have been had Advocaat decided this light-framed little midfielder he first saw on video was not up to his standards.
“I’ll forever be thankful he showed so much faith in me at such a young age.”
It was in the 1998/99 season that Ferguson, now 37, cemented himself in the Gers first-team, as well as making his Scotland debut.
That was Advocaat’s first season in charge at Ibrox, and although Ferguson had made his debut before his arrival, the Dutchman made him a key figure in the first-team. He retained his place for all four years of Advocaat’s stay in Scotland, before moving on the following year to Blackburn, then back to Rangers - before rounding off his career with Birmingham and Blackpool.
If Advocaat remains in charge at Sunderland into next season, he will likely want to rejuvenate the Black Cats squad in his view. Knowing that he took a young Ferguson from obscurity and made him a figure of the Rangers side will do much for many of the young players in Sunderland’s academy - especially considering the current state of their playing squad.
Youngsters such as Duncan Watmore, Mikael Mandron and Liam Agnew may hope that they are pushed into the first-team at Advocaat’s request next season, and the example of Ferguson’s importance for the Light Blues could be key into proving that they are already good enough for Sunderland if given a chance.