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No way back for Scots duo - Smith

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SFA chief executive Gordon Smith addresses journalists at Hampden

Scottish Football Association chief executive Gordon Smith insists that Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor will not play for Scotland again.

The pair were told they would not be selected for the national side following their breach of discipline.

When pressed on whether the Rangers duo could ever return for Scotland, Smith said: "I can't answer that."

However, he has since made it clear that the ban will stand under the current SFA regime.

The SFA reviewed the Scotland indiscipline storm during its regular board meeting at Hampden on Thursday.

The players involved were involved in two incidents. I hope the football world can understand that

SFA chief executive Gordon Smith

A drinking session at Cameron House Hotel on the shores of Loch Lomond followed the squad's 0400 BST return from a 3-0 World Cup qualifying defeat in Netherlands on 28 March.

Food was laid on for players and staff, while the players were permitted to have a drink.

The events that followed led to Rangers midfielder Ferguson and Ibrox team-mate and goalkeeper McGregor being dropped to the bench for the match four days later against Iceland because of their behaviour.

From the substitute's area at Hampden, the pair then made V-signs at the ranks of assembled photographers.

Several other players had also disregarded the management's instructions at the hotel but their actions went unpunished.

"It is certainly the case that there were a number of players who stayed up beyond an acceptable time and it is also the case that the excessive consumption of alcohol by players can never be considered a part of the preparations for a vital game," read a statement issued by the SFA.

"All of the players who breached team discipline were spoken to by the manager at the time and told in no uncertain terms that their actions were totally unacceptable both to him, to the rest of the squad and to the country.

"However, due to the severity of the actions of two players in particular, the manager felt it necessary to take further action against them."

Addressing journalists at Hampden on Thursday, Smith said he wanted to explain the SFA's stance in "football parlance".

He added: "The players involved were involved in two incidents. Two yellows make a red and I hope the football world can understand that."

Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor
Ferguson and McGregor had been told they would not play for Scotland again

Rangers suspended the pair without pay for two weeks and stripped Ferguson of the captaincy, sparking doubts over their long-term futures at Ibrox.

The SFA has pledged to establish a code of conduct, which will be issued to all international players - regardless of level. This will be drawn up in the coming weeks in consultation with coaching staff.

"If you're a responsible player and a top-class professional, you've got to been given a degree of credibility that you're going to go and act in the correct manner," said Smith.

"If you've sneaked out of a room after being put to bed, is that the manager's fault because he didn't have the bedroom window locked or they didn't have a guard out in the garden?

"You're relying on players to act in a certain way and maybe what we have to do now is put in a code of conduct to make sure that the players will have to respect that and act in a certain way rather than give the players responsibility to act in a certain manner."

The SFA statement, issued after Smith's address, added: "This whole episode has been an embarrassment to our national game and has overshadowed the fact that Scotland secured a vital win last week.

"Lessons must - and will be learned from this."



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see also
SFA chief to miss talks after op
08 Apr 09 |  Football
Four Scots cleared in drink probe
07 Apr 09 |  Internationals
I had to set an example - Burley
05 Apr 09 |  Internationals
Union blasts SFA over gesture row
04 Apr 09 |  Internationals
Scots end Gers pair's cap career
03 Apr 09 |  Internationals
Peat demands Scots drinks probe
03 Apr 09 |  Internationals


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