Levein opens Scotland door for Ferguson return

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The Independent Football

Craig Levein was yesterday installed as the new Scotland manager and wasted little time in making clear that players like Barry Ferguson and Kris Boyd who fell foul of his predecessor, George Burley, would be considered for the side.

Ferguson and goalkeeper Allan McGregor were banned from playing for Scotland for life in April after breaking a team curfew to go on a drinking spree, while Boyd refused to play for Burley.

Yet, Levein, who cost the Scottish Football Association a reported £250,000 in compensation to his former club Dundee United, said at Hampden Park yesterday: "I will not be ruling out any players. Whether those players, when selected, don't want to come, then that's a different matter. My job is to try to qualify, so I'll be picking the best players."

Levein, who said he was "thrilled" by his appointment, has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with the SFA and will be hoping to mount a strong campaign for qualification for the 2012 European Championship. He added that he was encouraged by Ferguson's comments that he would consider a return to international football: "We're not a big nation. We need every top-quality player."