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By ESPN Staff

Scotland's Stewart gives backing for banned duo

Scotland international Michael Stewart believes banned pair Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor have been wrongly vilified.

The Hearts player feels they have been victims of a similar witch hunt to former bank chief Sir Fred Goodwin.

Ferguson and McGregor were told they would no longer be selected by Scotland for flicking V-signs on the Hampden bench, after a drinking session cost them their place in the World Cup qualifying win over Iceland.

But Stewart has called for the public and media to lay off both Rangers players, who were also suspended by their club.

He hopes they are reinstated by the Scottish Football Association when the furore dies down.

''Stranger things have happened than the two lads getting back into the Scotland set-up, so I hope it's not the end of their careers,'' said Stewart. ''Everyone makes mistakes, and we shouldn't be too quick to vilify people.

''I'm sure if we look at ourselves we have done things, maybe not of the same ilk, but we have all made mistakes.

''I think the two players are of a benefit to the country - and I think if there's a way to get around it, we should do.''

Stewart, who has four Scotland caps, compared their situation to that of former Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Goodwin, who is collecting a pension worth around £700,000 a year after presiding over the largest annual loss in UK corporate history.

''In this country, we're far too quick to jump on the bandwagon and vilify people,'' the 28-year-old told STV. ''All you need to do is look at Fred Goodwin as well. He is vilified to the hilt, but people seem to forget the billions he brought into the economy prior to everything crashing.

''That's not to say that what's happened isn't an issue; it's just to say we shouldn't get too carried away with the momentum of things in any walk of life.

''I hope in the course of time, whether it's a couple of months or a year down the line, we can look at things objectively and make decisions then.''


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