Friday, April 3, 2009

The camera focusses in on the two gentlemen in question. The skinhead, gives the finger, smirking like a naughty schoolboy, before using it to rub his nose. He then does that oldtimer zing of the v sign chin scratcher. Schoolboy classic. The older gentleman, with the clueless expression, also performs the latter action. They must be so proud of themselves. That told us.

The scene could have been from some ned’s appearance at the Sheriff Court. It could have been two eight year olds having some playful antics in the classroom when the teacher’s back is turned. Or it could just be your national football team’s former captain and number one choice goalkeeper showing the nation and everyone outside of it that they don’t seem to have a brain cell between them.

Yes, the fall out from the Ferguson/McGregor booze fest keeps rumbling on.

Today’s news was, to me at least, unexpected and the severity of it actually really shocked me.

Both players have been banned for life from the Scottish national side. Both players have been sent home from Rangers training and issued with a two week ban. Transfer listing will probably also follow and Barry Ferguson has been stripped of the Rangers captaincy.

Very strong punishments meted out and an equally strong message given to the rest of the players involved with the Scotland squad. Top marks to the SFA for their actions and also to Rangers, who I’ve been very critical of in the past on a number of issues but have been spot on on this one.

Does the punishment meet the crime though? Are life bans worthy of some drinking and childish gestures? Possibly not. It did bring shame to the nation. It gave the impression that they don’t give a toss about the jersey and the fans, that they have no respect. There’s been rumours of other antics by the pair including blazing rows with the management, refusal to apologise initially and refusal to warm up at half time amongst them.

To me, it all smacks that there is more to this and more to still come out.

Thankfully we don’t have any more meaningful internationals for a while so that this won’t overshadow the main objective of World Cup qualification. It has already covered the fact that we only narrowly beat a lowly Icelandic team and Burley’s managerial abilities.

Can we afford to remove players from an already small pool of international quality players at our disposal? Frankly, yes. If getting rid of two bad apples means we miss out this time but are stronger for it, then it’s worth doing.

Let’s see the Scotland team recapture the passion of old and have players turn out who really want to be there, who care about their country and the fans and most importantly, who set an example and ones we can be proud of.

Once we have that the results on the pitch will follow. What we have left and with the younger players coming through, I don’t feel we’re too far short of that already.

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