Thanks but no thanks: Midfielder Barry Ferguson
Barry Ferguson snubbedScotland once again last night asall his talk of an internationalreturn proved to be just emptywords.
A week after the former captain revealed'the hurt' he felt watching Scotland in hisabsence, the 32-year-old slammed the doorin the faces of all those agitating for hisreturn yesterday.
Scotland manager Craig Levein hadstepped up his efforts to lure Fergusonback for crucial Euro 2012 games againstthe Czech Republic and Spain with LeeMcCulloch banned for the Czech fixtureand Paul Hartley injured.
'It has not been an easy decision but I feelI have done the right thing,' insistedFerguson last night.
'There was a danger that, by returning, Iwould have started a media frenzy and itwould have been a distraction for the restof the squad and the manager.
'That would not have helped anybody. Also, Ifeel I have reached a stage in mylife where everything is goinggreat. I feel I owe it to my familyand to Birmingham to give themmy all at the moment.
'It is hard to say no because ithurts not being involved.However, I believe in fate andthat things happen for a reason. Iwish Scotland all the best.'
Ferguson's decision led to an SFAspokesman admitting: 'During alive radio broadcast last week,Barry Ferguson intimated thathe may consider a return tointernational football.
'In subsequent conversationswith the national coach, CraigLevein, and the team scout,Michael Oliver, Barry hasconfirmed this not to be thecase.
Controversial: Barry Ferguson's two-fingered salute after the Boozegate scandal
'He will therefore not beconsidered for selection and thematter is now closed.'
It is a humiliating end to aprotracted saga that has draggedon for nearly seven months afterLevein intimated he was eager towelcome the Birminghammidfielder back into the fold.
Just five caps short of the 50which would have earned him aplace in the SFA Hall of Fame,Ferguson laid bare the innerturmoil over his continuinginternational exile on BBC RadioScotland earlier this month in aninterview seen by many as thefirst step towards a return.
'Craig knows I will speak to him,'said Ferguson.
'His words were:'The door will never be shut'. Itnever leaves you and you alwayswant to represent your country.
Snubbed: Scotland boss Craig Levein
'Watching the games, you wantto be out there helping Scotlandget to a major European finals.It does hurt not being part of it.'
But it appears it did not hurtenough and this rejection of anolive branch is likely to be metwith incredulity by the TartanArmy many of whom wereready to forgive Ferguson for hisBoozegate shame andsubsequent Hampden V-signs.
Ferguson's personalcircumstances have changedsince leaving Rangers forBirmingham City in July 2009.
The 32-year-old visits hisLanarkshire-based family duringinternational breaks andundoubtedly feels a debt ofgratitude to City boss AlexMcLeish for taking him south.
Door wide open! Levein would welcome Barry back into Scotland foldBirmingham star Ferguson admits: I may yet make a Scotland returnMcLeish hopes to tempt Larsson into extending career at Birmingham