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Page last updated at 11:29 GMT, Wednesday, 12 August 2009 12:29 UK

Ferguson 'should end SFA dispute'

Birmigham City manager Alex McLeish and midfielder Barry Ferguson
McLeish says he hopes to draw a line under the Ferguson affair

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish hopes Barry Ferguson's dispute with the Scottish Football Association is over.

Blues and Scotland midfielder Ferguson branded the SFA a "joke" on Monday over its handling of the indiscipline that ended his international career.

McLeish told BBC Radio 5 live: "I would rather it's swept under the carpet now.

"And I'd rather they just let sleeping dogs lie. Perhaps that will be his last comment about it, we'll certainly have a chat about it over a cup of tea."

McLeish added: "Barry's an individual and he's got freedom to a certain degree but he obviously feels aggrieved at the situation and maybe feels that he's been a scapegoat."

Ferguson and goalkeeper Allan McGregor were punished for a late-night drinking session by being relegated to the substitutes' bench for the game against Iceland in April.

The pair were then told they would not feature for Scotland again after they were photographed making V-signs while sitting on the bench during that match at Hampden.


The former Rangers midfielder, who joined Birmingham in July, conceded he was wrong, but criticised the SFA for its handling of the affair.

"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.

"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?"

SFA chief executive Gordon Smith said the timing of Ferguson's comments was "unfortunate" ahead of Wednesday's crucial World Cup qualifier against Norway.

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

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
Ferguson slams SFA over Scots ban
10 Aug 09 |  Internationals
Smith opens door for banned duo
06 Jun 09 |  Internationals
Burley distances himself from ban
12 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

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