Smith confirms ban stance
Gordon Smith has reiterated that Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor remain international exiles.
Last Updated: 18/06/09 5:22pm
SFA chief executive Gordon Smith has reiterated that Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor remain international exiles.
The Rangers pair were excluded from competing with Scotland following their antics during a 2010 World Cup qualifying double-header against Holland and Iceland.
Some reports in the wake of that decision claimed a lifetime ban had been imposed on the men in question.
Smith insists that is not the case, and has not ruled out the possibility of a recall in the future, but maintains that both Ferguson and McGregor will not be called upon while George Burley remains in charge of the national side.
"I don't remember mentioning anything about a spirit of reconciliation," he said.
"I said there was always a possibility that somebody in the future might decide to change that decision."
Smith added: "The point I was trying to make was that everybody kept saying it was a life ban. You can't do life bans in football terms so therefore you can't say it was a life ban or sine die.
"What we're saying is they will not be chosen again for the national team and we stick by that.
"Someone said 'can you ever see that changing?' Well, if you say it can't ever change you effectively are saying it's a life ban.
"It's not a life ban but I don't see any situation where it is going to change in the near future."
While Ferguson and McGregor will play no further part on the road to South Africa, Smith is confident Scotland are still capable of clinching qualification for a major tournament for the first time in 11 years.
"I'm optimistic," he said.
"It's in our own hands but we still have to go out there and get results.
"We still have to go and I think take maybe six points from three games.
"I'm looking at the other groups, when you disregard the bottom team results, there are actually about five teams on seven points like we are, including the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
"Everyone is saying how well they are doing but they virtually have the same points as us on the basis they have had two games against the bottom team.
"It's going to be very, very tight as to who finishes in the top eight of the second-placed teams but I'm confident if we get the results we're looking for we have a good chance of getting into the play-offs."