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James McFadden urges Barry Ferguson to re-join Scots

James McFadden models Scotland's new strip
McFadden modelled Scotland's new strip at Hampden on Monday

James McFadden welcomed Kris Boyd and Lee McCulloch back to the Scotland squad and says he hopes to persuade Barry Ferguson to do likewise.

Rangers duo Boyd and McCulloch withdrew from the set-up under former manager George Burley, while Ferguson was banned for disciplinary reasons.

"It's good to see them back and I'm sure it will have a positive effect," McFadden said of Boyd and McCulloch.

"I speak to Barry every day, but it's his decision."

Former Dundee United manager Craig Levein has succeeded the sacked Burley and has given Ferguson and former Rangers team-mate Allan McGregor a second chance after they were disciplined for a late-night drinking session last year.

McFadden praises 'first pick' Fletcher

Midfielder Ferguson, who has since joined forward McFadden at Birmingham City, has yet to decide whether to return to the Scotland fold amid fears that, at 31, playing for his country could affect his club form.

"Obviously I would love to see him back because he has had a brilliant season for us and he is a player that we could definitely use," said McFadden ahead of Wednesday's friendly against Czech Republic at Hampden.

"He is as fit as anything but maybe looking forward to getting the season over with Birmingham, but it would be good to see him back."

In his first meeting at the team hotel on Sunday evening, Levein spelled out to the players the same non-alcohol policy he had as a club manager.

"We are only here for a short period of time and I don't think anybody has any major problem about not being able to have a drink," said McFadden.

"The manager has come in and has to put his own stamp on it and the players are happy with that."

McFadden does not expect the Hampden crowd to give Boyd stick should he feature on Wednesday - McCulloch being unlikely to play through injury.

Scotland squad positive, says Houston

"The fans are coming to support Scotland, not to have a go at anybody," he said.

"I'm sure there will be some sections which will give them a bit of stick, but they are big enough and ugly enough to take it, otherwise they wouldn't have come back.

"Personally, I get on well with Lee McCulloch, so it's good to see him back. Him and Boydy are good for the dressing-room and good about the place."

McFadden, who hopes to shrug off a groin injury to play against the Czechs, thought the spirit within the camp had never been diminished despite the controversy in the lead up to Scotland's failed attempt to qualify for the World Cup finals.

That was a theme mirrored by Peter Houston, Levein's assistant and the man who succeeded the national coach as manager at Tannadice.

"There is a positive energy about because it's a new era and a fresh start for everybody," said Houston.

"It is a clean slate, a clean bill of health and everybody's looking forward to exciting times ahead.

"There was not a lot said about discipline, but one thing Craig does not allow in any squad is to have a drink.

"We are here to work and there will be times for partying if we qualify."

Wednesday's opponents are also in Scotland's Euro 2012 qualifying group and Houston said that both sides could be cagey about "showing their hand" at this stage.

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"The Czech Republic have left a few players out of their squad, while Craig has a number of formations he will want to try in the next six months and will tinker with it here and there," he said.

Houston said that Darren Fletcher, who had cut short his celebrations after helping Manchester United beat Aston Villa in Sunday's Carling Cup final to join the Scotland camp, exemplified the enthusiasm among the players.

The midfielder himself said: "We have a new manager and I have heard a lot of good things about him, that he is a good and tough manager and hopefully that is what we need to get us to a major championship."



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see also
Scotland 1-0 Czech Republic
03 Mar 10 |  Football
Cech misses friendly at Hampden
25 Feb 10 |  Football
Injury hits McGregor Scots return
22 Feb 10 |  Football
McCulloch targets Scotland return
15 Feb 10 |  Football


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