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Page last updated at 13:47 GMT, Wednesday, 22 April 2009 14:47 UK

Ferguson out of Gers title run-in

Rangers midfielder Barry Ferguson
Ferguson's reserve outing against Hearts was short-lived

Rangers midfielder Barry Ferguson has been ruled out for the rest of the season after suffering a torn calf muscle in a reserve match on Tuesday.

The deposed Ibrox captain limped off after only two minutes while making his return in the game against Hearts.

Rangers say the 31-year-old will need around four to six weeks to recover.

Ferguson and keeper Allan McGregor were both making their first appearances since the internal ban imposed on them by manager Walter Smith was lifted.

The former Scotland captain was hurt making a tackle on Hearts' David Templeton during Rangers' second string match at Stirling Albion's Forthbank Stadium.

Ally McCoist, assistant manager at Ibrox, said: "I feel for him. I can tell you better than anyone that calves are murder.

"He reckons about three weeks. If that's the case, fantastic, that would be brilliant. But knowing calves as I do, I think it might be a bit longer.

"It's one of those things for Barry at the moment - it never rains but it pours.

"He will be disappointed because he was looking to get back playing, getting match practice and back in the squad and it wasn't to be.

"But he will knuckle down, get his treatment and hopefully get back in the squad."

Ferguson and McGregor were banished from international football amid the furore surrounding their high-profile misdemeanours while on Scotland duty.

The pair were involved in a late-night drinking session after the World Cup qualifying defeat in Holland last month and got into further hot water when they made gestures while on the substitutes' bench against Iceland.

Smith fined and suspended both players for a fortnight but later declared in an off-the-record briefing to a select number of journalists that the duo's days at Ibrox were over.

However, the manager later admitted he had been too hasty and has welcomed both players back into the fold, although neither was involved in the 3-2 first team win over Hibernian at Easter Road on Sunday.

Ferguson's injury removes any doubt over whether Smith would have picked him again for the first team this season.

But McCoist acknowledged that the injury adds to speculation about whether Ferguson will actually play for Rangers again.

"I can understand it; that's the nature of the game," said the Ibrox assistant manager.

"If the injury keeps him out for the remainder of the season, it will be a big disappointment for Barry and us, because we want all of our best players available.

"I don't think there is any doubt that Barry is one of our best players.

"He has a year of his contract still to go and hopefully he will be back before the end of the season."

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see also
Ferguson and McGregor still out
19 Apr 09 |  Rangers
Smith is cagey over returning duo
17 Apr 09 |  Rangers
Law could have helped Ibrox pair
17 Apr 09 |  Rangers
Rangers welcome duo back to fold
16 Apr 09 |  Rangers
Rangers pair given comeback hope
16 Apr 09 |  Rangers

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