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Page last updated at 17:17 GMT, Thursday, 16 April 2009 18:17 UK

Rangers welcome duo back to fold

Gary Caldwell, Pedro Mendes, Scott Brown and Steven Davis
Gary Caldwell, Mendes, Scott Brown and Davis are up for the top award

Rangers team-mates have welcomed the return of Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor as a "big bonus" after the pair were disciplined by the club.

Manager Walter Smith has stepped back from previous indications that they would never play for the club again after misbehaviour with Scotland.

The pair are poised to return to training after a two-week club ban.

And Ferguson's fellow midfielders Pedro Mendes and Steven Davis said it would boost their league and cup double bid.

Ahead of Sunday's Scottish Premier League visit to Hibernian's Easter Road, Davis remarked: "They are two quality players and, from a players' point of view, it's a big bonus to have them back.

"Hopefully they can help us out between now and the end of the season."

Ferguson and McGregor were dropped for the World Cup qualifier against Iceland after a drinking session that followed the defeat by Netherlands four days earlier.

Everybody has pulled together since everything happened

Rangers midfielder Steven Davis

They were then disciplined by Smith for V-signs made on the Scotland bench at Hampden, with Ferguson being stripped of the club captaincy.

But the Rangers manager has softened his stance after the pair were told they would not play for their country again under the present Scotland regime.

Part of the reason appears to be Smith's anger at the way the situation was handled by the Scottish Football Association.

And Davis says that, if anything, the controversy has strengthened morale at Ibrox, with the team having beaten Falkirk, St Mirren and Motherwell in the absence of their captain Ferguson and first-choice goalkeeper.

"Everybody has pulled together since everything happened," the Northern Ireland international said.

"There have been a few different things throughout the season that have gone on and I think we have shown a good togetherness."

Mendes was looking forward to renewing his central midfield partnership with the 31-year-old Ferguson.

"Like it was before - it's a pleasure to play alongside him," Mendes said. "He's a fantastic player for Rangers. It's good to have him back.

"We have a 25 or 26-man squad. If some of them are out injured, they will be missed.

"Of course, Barry and Allan are excellent players, very good for Rangers and Scotland, very good team-mates."

Davis and Mendes spoke to the media after being named on the four-man shortlist for the PFA Scotland Player of the Year award alongside Celtic pair Scott Brown and Gary Caldwell.

"To be nominated is an extra," said Mendes, who arrived from Portsmouth in the summer.

"I was more concerned with settling quickly to a new club, a new lifestyle, new team-mates. I'm pleased the way I did it."

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see also
Rangers pair given comeback hope
16 Apr 09 |  Rangers
Scots fans may forgive Gers pair
12 Apr 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

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