Football: Brown meeting may decide Ferguson's Scotland future

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The Independent Online
Ian Ferguson comes face to face with the Scotland manager, Craig Brown, today in a meeting which could make or break his international future.

Ferguson is in the firing line after a foul-mouthed outburst following the goalless draw with Estonia in Monaco last Tuesday. It is alleged that Ferguson's attack was aimed at the travelling Tartan Army although the 29-year-old's agent claims it was directed at Estonian players.

Now Brown is to meet with Ferguson, probably in the company of his club manager, Walter Smith, to discuss the matter. Brown has watched video evidence of the incident which came as Ferguson trooped off the Stade Louis II pitch with his team-mate Colin Calderwood.

Until he meets with Ferguson he will not say what, if any, action will be taken over the matter. It is understood that if Brown believes Ferguson's swearing was directed at fans who paid a small fortune to follow Scotland to Monaco, then he may urge him to make a public apology.

Ferguson, 29, won his ninth international cap as a substitute for Celtic's Paul McStay in the 0-0 draw which damaged Scotland's World Cup qualifying effort. Brown's players were booed off by some 2,000 fans as they left the pitch last Tuesday night.

Dundee entertain Morton tonight determined to earn a money-spinning place in the Tennents Scottish Cup semi- finals. The First Division pair meet in a fourth-round replay after drawing 2-2 at Cappielow on Saturday with a home quarter-final against the Premier Division side Kilmarnock on offer for the winners.

John McCormick, the Dundee manager, is hoping that home advantage will prove the decisive factor. McCormick has not lost a fixture at Dens Park since he took over from Jim Duffy, who left to join Hibernian at the end of December.

"We are looking forward to it and I was delighted with the spirit shown by the players at Cappielow,'' McCormick said. "People seem to think I have been going a little over the top about a 2-2 draw but we were behind twice and the players deserved credit for recovering from those setbacks."

McCormick has the former Celtic defender Barry Smith available again after a suspension. Tommy McQueen, Hugh Robertson and George Shaw have taken knocks but they are expected to recover in time.

Morton will travel north again without their long-term injured pair, Brian Reid and Dougie Johnstone. Their manager, Allan McGraw, has added Alan Blaikie and the 19-year-old Bryan Slavin to his squad, but is unlikely to change the line-up which came within five minutes of reaching the quarter- finals before Ian Anderson's equaliser for Dundee on Saturday.