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Ferguson and McGregor offered hope of Scotland return

18 November 2009 18:50

GLASGOW (AFP) - Banned duo Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor will be able to resume playing for Scotland if the new manager wants to pick them, the Scottish Football Association (SFA) signalled on Wednesday.

Ferguson, a former captain of the national team, and Rangers goalkeeper McGregor were banned for life for their behaviour before and during a World Cup qualifier against Iceland in April.

The pair were dropped after an all-night drinking session and then made V signs at photographers from the bench.

The SFA subsequently announced lifetime bans for both players but SFA Chief Executive Gordon Smith indicated that the successor to George Burley, who was sacked on Monday, will be free to select whoever he wants.

"The new manager will definitely have a say in who he wants to play," Smith said.

"The manager has the decision on all forms of dealing with discipline. If a new manager comes in, I'm sure they will have licence to pick who they want."

Smith would not be drawn on reports that Walter Smith, the Rangers manager, had ruled out a return to the role of national manager, but encouraged speculation that Dundee United boss Craig Levein could be a target for the SFA.

Levein has had numerous confrontations with the governing body over disciplinary matters but Smith said that would not be an issue.

"I don't have a problem with anyone in the game," Smith said. "Everyone will be considered as a candidate. I don't have any personal agenda."

Smith also revealed the SFA had not ruled out appointing another foreign manager, despite memories of Berti Vogts's disastrous reign from 2002-04, which ended with the country at 77th in the FIFA rankings, its lowest ever position.

"We haven't decided on that yet," Smith said. "We're looking for someone who's got experience and authority in the game."

Burley was sacked as a result of Scotland winning only three of the 14 matches they played under him but Smith insisted the SFA had not blundered in appointing the former Hearts and Ipswich boss in January 2008.

"The SFA chose George to go forward because we did our homework on him in terms of his qualities as a manager," he said.

"The one thing you can never tell when someone gets appointed to a job, especially when it is a change from club football to international football, whether they are going to be a success."

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