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Page last updated at 15:16 GMT, Monday, 10 August 2009 16:16 UK

Ferguson slams SFA over Scots ban

Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor
Ferguson says he regrets his gestures while on Scotland duty

Barry Ferguson has branded the Scottish Football Association a "joke" over the way it ended his Scotland career.

Ferguson and Allan McGregor were punished following a late-night drinking session and V-sign gestures on the bench in April's win over Iceland.

"The way the SFA handled the entire situation - for me it was a joke," Ferguson told the Evening Times.

SFA chief executive Gordon Smith said the timing of the Birmingham City midfielder's views was "unfortunate".

Ferguson and McGregor were told they would not feature for Scotland again after the pair, having been relegated to the bench after the drinking incident at the team hotel, gestured to photographers at Hampden.

The Scotland squad flew out to Oslo on Monday, ahead of Wednesday's crucial World Cup qualifier against Norway.

Midfielder Ferguson, who left Rangers to join Birmingham City in the summer, admitted he had been in the wrong but felt that the SFA handled the situation poorly.

I had played for Scotland 45 times and they sent a fax to Murray Park saying that I would never play for my country again

Barry Ferguson

"I was totally in the wrong with what happened at the hotel.

"I would never sit for a second and try to dress that up in any way or try to make a case for what went on that night with the drinking," said the midfielder.

"If I could go back and change things, I would - of course I would.

"I should have gone to bed, and I should never have made the V-signs - when I see the pictures of that I feel so stupid. I looked like a daft idiot and I should have known better. But it was an error, a bad call."

Ferguson said he was upset at the way he found out that his international career was over.

"I had played for Scotland 45 times, I had captained my country for years - and they sent a fax to Murray Park saying that I would never play for my country again," he said.

Ferguson timing 'planned' - Smith

"It was just the same statement they put out, that was it! That just astonished me.

"The machine starts to ring, and in comes a fax from Hampden for my attention telling me that I would no longer be picked, and neither would Allan.

"The people in the room just looked at each other in total disbelief - is that how something like that should be handled?

"I was in such a whirl that I wasn't taking anything in - then a fax arrives and that was it over... no phone call, no anything. That, for me, sums the SFA up. They don't know how to handle anything properly."

Smith said the timing of his views were unfortunate ahead of Wednesday's important qualifier.

"Regardless of what he's saying, we've no response to it because we're concentrating on an important game," he said.

MY SPORT: DEBATE

"The timing of his comments are obviously crucial as well, to all of a sudden after four months speak about it this week is an important aspect of it, but I don't want to respond to it.

"All I'm saying is the game on Wednesday is important for us and that's what my response is."

Smith added: "The timing's obviously planned to try to be negative regarding something to do with the team.

"So that's why I'm not responding and we'll wait and see what happens on Wednesday night."



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see also
Norway 4-0 Scotland
12 Aug 09 |  Internationals
Smith opens door for banned duo
06 Jun 09 |  Internationals
Burley distances himself from ban
12 Apr 09 |  Internationals
No way back for Scots duo - Smith
09 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
Scotland's hall of shame
01 Apr 09 |  Internationals


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