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SFA issue code for players

Smith backing for Burley

Last Updated: 02/04/09 4:26pm

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Ferguson & McGregor: Punished

Ferguson & McGregor: Punished

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The SFA will issue Scotland players with a "code of conduct" in the wake of the late-night drinking session that saw Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor dropped for the clash with Iceland.

Scotland's preparations for the crucial World Cup qualifier with Iceland were overshadowed by the the misdemeanours of Ferguson and McGregor.

Rangers duo Ferguson and McGregor arrived back from Saturday's 3-0 defeat in Holland in the early hours of Sunday morning and began a drinking session at the team hotel in Loch Lomond that reportedly lasted until lunchtime.

Scotland boss George Burley dropped the pair from his starting XI to face Iceland as a result of the incident, but revealed after the 2-1 success at Hampden Park that both players remain part of his long-term plans.

Scottish Football Association chief executive Gordon Smith has moved to back Burley over the matter and announced details of a "code of conduct" to prevent any similar incidents occurring again.

"I have met with George Burley today and we have spoken about the events of the past few days," said Smith.


"I fully support George's decision, which was obviously taken with the best interests of the team and the country in mind.

"He knew how vital it was to win on Wednesday and the action he took was deigned to ensure that we got the three points.

"What is clear, though, is that this type of incident must not be allowed to happen again.

"George, like any other manager, relies on his players to act in a responsible manner while they are representing their country.

"We will be issuing players with a code of conduct and will be tightening up arrangements within the team hotel.

"Where any player does not meet the standards required of a Scotland international, they will be dealt with swiftly and effectively.

"Everyone is right behind George and the team as they aim to take us to the World Cup.

"The incidents leading up to the Iceland game were unfortunate and could have been a distraction ahead of the match.

"Thankfully, it was dealt with quickly and the players were able to concentrate on the task at hand and secure the win.

"We now consider this matter to be closed."

Darren Fletcher and Craig Gordon have jumped to the defence of Ferguson and McGregor insisting they should stay in the Scotland squad.

"Allan and Barry are valuable members of our squad and it's great to have them in the squad, and they will be big players for Scotland in the future," said Fletcher.

"That's the unanimous view. Barry's a great captain and he has got our backing."

Gordon, who reclaimed his No.1 spot from McGregor after being left out against Holland, said: "The players were aware of the incident; we hoped it would not come out but, in football, it's hard to keep these things quiet.

"The players and management dealt with it and hopefully it's behind us now.

"I don't think there is any problem.

"He (Barry) accepts it was the wrong thing to do and he had his punishment and we move on from here.

"But there is absolutely no doubt that they should be in the next squad.

"You need your best players and, without doubt, those two should be in every squad; they are our best players."

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