Advocaat advocates case for Ferguson

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The Independent Online

The recent turbulent past of Barry Ferguson has done little to temper the enthusiasm of the the Rangers manager, Dick Advocaat, for his Scottish international. After reading the 22-year-old the riot act the Dutchman remains certain that the midfielder will learn from his travails - sent off in the Old Firm derby two weeks ago before being hurt in a brawl outside a bar on the same night - and will become a better player.

The recent turbulent past of Barry Ferguson has done little to temper the enthusiasm of the the Rangers manager, Dick Advocaat, for his Scottish international. After reading the 22-year-old the riot act the Dutchman remains certain that the midfielder will learn from his travails - sent off in the Old Firm derby two weeks ago before being hurt in a brawl outside a bar on the same night - and will become a better player.

"That is part of his development. As a player, he has to take the best out of it," Advocaat advised. "We spoke with him and he knows the situation. He has to learn from that as well. Everyone knows how I feel about Barry Ferguson. He is one of the biggest talents in Scottish football. There is no doubt about that. But he has to understand that he is not just talent any more - he is now a good player - he has become better and he has to take that responsibility. He now has to show how good he is and he has the quality to show that."

Ferguson will have ample opportunity to do so this evening when Rangers open their Group D Champions' League campaign at home to Sturm Graz. Rod Wallace and Craig Moore will be absent through injury but Jörg Albertz and Bert Konterman are added to the squad. Advocaat will leave his decision on Michael Mols until late after the striker played his first competitive match in 10 months against Dundee on Saturday.

The Austrians secured their passage to the latter stages of the Champions' League by overcoming Feyenoord. However, they will be without their striker Ivica Vastic, leaving Markus Schopp to forage alone for goals. The former Millwall striker Sergei Yuran and the German midfielder Markus Schupp are also missing.

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