Football: Ferguson forgiven by Brown

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The Independent Online
Ian Ferguson has settled his differences with the Scotland manager, Craig Brown, and is included in the national squad for the Scots' two forthcoming World Cup qualifying games.

Five weeks ago Ferguson was caught on microphone allegedly venting his frustrations to travelling supporters after Scotland's goalless draw with Estonia in Monaco. He later apologised and Brown has included the Rangers midfielder in his squad for the return against Estonia at Kilmarnock on Saturday week and the fixture with Austria at Celtic Park on 2 April.

Ferguson misses Rangers' match against Kilmarnock today as he starts a two-match domestic suspension after being involved in the Old Firm altercation with Celtic's Paolo Di Canio.

Darren Jackson, of Hibernian, and Chelsea's Craig Burley were recalled to a 24-man squad named yesterday by Brown.

The one surprise was the exclusion of the Celtic defender Jackie McNamara, who has started Scotland's last two qualifiers. Paul Lambert, of Borussia Dortmund, was included and that prevents him playing in the Bundesliga next Thursday.

Brown said that McNamara had been left out for "personal reasons". "No way is he being made a scapegoat for the last result and we have Craig Burley of Chelsea available again for the right-back position," Brown said.

"I was tempted to bring in others like Phil O'Donnell of Celtic and David Weir of Hearts but I resisted that. Some of the guys in this group are getting on in years so that only increases their determination to get us to France. It could be the last chance for some of them."

One of those veterans is Hibernian's Jim Leighton, who is poised to reclaim the goalkeeper's jersey as Andy Goram is excluded through injury.

SCOTLAND SQUAD (World Cup qualifiers v Estonia, Rugby Park, Kilmarnock, 29 March, and Austria, Celtic Park, Glasgow, 2 April): Boyd (Celtic), Burley (Chelsea), Calderwood (Tottenham), Collins (Monaco), D Ferguson (Everton), I Ferguson (Rangers), Gallacher (Blackburn), Gemmill (Nottingham Forest), Hendry (Blackburn), Howie (Motherwell), D Jackson (Hibernian), Jess (Coventry), Lambert (Borussia Dortmund), Leighton (Hibernian), B McAllister (Wimbledon), G McAllister (Coventry), McCoist (Rangers), McGinlay (Bolton), T McKinlay (Celtic), B McKinlay (Blackburn), McLaren (Rangers), McStay (Celtic), Spencer (Queen's Park Rangers), Sullivan (Wimbledon).