17 Apr 2009

Reprieve at Rangers for Ferguson and McGregor

7:08 am on 17 April 2009

The Scottish Football Association is to stand by its decision to ban Rangers pair Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor for life despite the players' club coach Walter Smith granting them a reprieve.

The midfield player and goalkeeper were banished from international football for a late-night drinking session following the World Cup qualifying defeat in Amsterdam last month.

The pair had compounded the original offence by appearing to make abusive gestures as they sat on the bench against Iceland at Hampden three days later.

Smith stripped Ferguson of his Rangers captaincy and suspended both players for a fortnight but made it clear, in an off-the-record briefing to a select number of newspapers, that their days at Ibrox were over.

In a surprise move, however, the 'Gers boss has welcomed both players back into the fold after hitting out at the SFA for their handling of the drinking incident which involved four other Scotland players.