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Apr 3, 2009

Ferguson and McGregor ostracised by Scotland

Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor have been banned from ever representing Scotland again after their bench antics against Iceland in midweek.

The pair were caught on camera making childish "V signs" across their faces at television cameras. They had been dropped for the Iceland World Cup qualifier after breaking squad discipline and spending the night drinking.

A furious Rangers manager Walter Smith sent the pair home from training on Friday and they were suspended by the Scottish giants without pay. Ferguson has also been stripped of the Rangers captaincy.

The Scottish FA had claimed on Thursday that the matter was closed but have now taken a tougher stance by ruling the pair will never play for their country again. The SFA have been besieged by phone calls and e-mails from irate Scotland fans.

It is understood the negative reaction from supporters and supporters' groups added to the pressure for the matter to be discussed again.

Following a further meeting between chief executive Gordon Smith and manager George Burley, sanctioned by the SFA board, it was decided neither player would play for Scotland again.

An SFA spokesman said: "In light of the events of the past 48 hours and following further discussions between the national team manager and the chief executive, it has been decided that Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor will no longer be considered for international selection by Scotland.

"This action has been taken in the best interest of the squad, the fans and the country.

"We are determined to qualify for the World Cup and we must ensure that nothing is allowed to distract us from achieving this goal."

Ferguson and McGregor were called to a meeting with Bain at Murray Park, where they were informed of the action being taken by the club.

Bain said: "The overall conduct of the players during the last week while on Scotland duty has, regrettably, fallen considerably short of the standards expected by Rangers Football Club and our supporters and has brought the club into disrepute.

"The management of the club has taken the view that this has damaged both Rangers and Scotland and is unacceptable.

"Even though our club is entering the critical stage of the league season and the later stages of the Scottish Cup, appropriate disciplinary action was required."

Rangers have agreed with the players that part of their deducted wages will be donated to charity. Both players issued an apology for their actions and spoke of their disappointment that their international careers are now over.

Ferguson said: "I deeply regret what happened last weekend and the events during the last week and apologise wholeheartedly for the embarrassment caused to Scotland, Rangers, both sets of supporters and my friends and family.

"I have always considered playing for Rangers and Scotland an honour and a privilege and nothing will change that and I am bitterly disappointed by the announcement that I will not be selected for Scotland again."

McGregor - who made his competitive debut against Holland on Saturday - added: "I was absolutely delighted to be selected for Scotland last weekend and I am deeply sorry over what has happened since then.

"We all make mistakes in life and I am very disappointed to have let Rangers, Scotland, my family, all the fans down.

"I am also desperately disappointed that I will not be selected again for Scotland at this stage in my career."

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