Ferguson in the new Bond picture

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The Independent Online
Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, is poised for some secret service at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery as he forms an unlikely alliance with James Bond.

An artist, David Mach, has done a portrait of Ferguson which features thousands of tiny postcard images of Bond and Pussy Galore. The picture will form the dominant image at the Edinburgh gallery's special tribute to Scottish sporting heroes unveiled for the first time today.

Stephen Hendry is also featured with his image covered by shots of the earth seen from space. Meanwhile, at today's opening the athlete Yvonne Murray will see a picture of herself surrounded by thousands of miniature shots of the Hollywood actress Jayne Mansfield.

The fourth and final six-foot square portrait is of the former Scotland rugby union captain, Gavin Hastings, flanked by purple heather.

The Fife-born Mach blew up and distorted photographs of his subjects then matched them with sets of 3,000 chopped-up postcards. "It took a long time to make the portraits. They're ridiculously labour-intensive because you have to slice up so many bits to fit on the photograph. I get my assistants to do that then come along and manipulate the cards. I can explode a face or make it really skinny - that's the creative part of it," he said.

Ferguson is himself looking for creativity as he has become increasingly worried by his strikers' inability to unlock opposition defences.

Three games, three goals. But the midfielders Nicky Butt and David Beckham have accounted for two and an own goal by the Spurs defender Ramon Vega the third. The pounds 3.5m signing, Teddy Sheringham, has appeared to be paralysed by stage fright at the Theatre of Dreams.

Ferguson admitted he was delighted by the way his champions have slammed the door shut at one end, but must be worried by Sheringham's lack of confidence. True, Sheringham has found himself without a recognised striking partner so far, with both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Andy Cole and now Jordi Cruyff injured.

But the England man planted an opening day penalty against the post when he was granted an immediate return to White Hart Lane, and did the same with an opportunity from three yards in the draw against Leicester on Saturday.

Ferguson said: "Scorers like to score goals, that's why they are scorers, and Teddy is no different from the rest of them. So when his first goal does eventually come, it will be a very welcome one."

With Solskjaer and Cruyff definitely ruled out of tonight's night's game with Everton because of ankle injuries and Cole set to be given no more than a substitute's berth after recovering from a calf operation, Sheringham will find himself alongside Paul Scholes at Goodison Park.