SFA chief frees up 'Boozegate' duo

18 November 2009 11:54
Ferguson and McGregor were handed lifetime bans from representing their country after flicking V-signs at photographers during April's World Cup qualifier against Iceland, while they sat on the bench as punishment for their part in a boozing incident in the Scotland camp days earlier.

The previous October, Kris Boyd vowed not to play under Burley again after being left on the bench for the goalless World Cup qualifier against Norway at Hampden.

However, addressing the media at Hampden to discuss Burley's sacking as manager on Monday, Scottish Football Association chief executive Smith was keen to relay the message that whoever succeeds the former Hearts and Ipswich boss would be free to select any player, including Ferguson and McGregor with Boyd also able to come back in to the frame.

On Ferguson and McGregor, Smith said: "The new manager will definitely have a say in who he wants to play.

"I brought in a new code of conduct for the SFA and it means that the manager has the decision on all forms of discipline.

"I felt it was the best way going forward.

"If a new manager comes in, I'm quite sure that they will be given the licence to pick whoever they want, provided the people you've mentioned, who are out of the scene just now, do want to be involved and show the supporters that they still want to play for the international team and repatriate themselves in that respect.

"It would widen the talent range, no doubt about it."

On the issue of Boyd, Smith replied: "That reflects on any player.

"That happened under George Burley's tenure.

"And if a new manager comes in and he wants to widen the whole spectrum, to include people who are not playing any more, but thinks they should be involved, then that will be down to him."

Smith insisted no shortlist had been drawn up for Burley's replacement and admits it could be another three months before an appointment is made.

"There will be a lot of speculation coming, but there will be a procedure," he said.

"There's no shortlist of candidates at the moment.

"We will sit down with the board of directors and it will be entrusted upon the office bearers to shortlist the candidates and review who is going to come in.

"I can't say that it will be next Friday or a week later.

"We would want to have a new manager in place by the time we got to the European championship draw which is in February.

"People might say that's taking a long, long time but we don't want to put a time scale on it.

"It certainly won't be in the short term.

"The next board meeting we have will be early December, to discuss the matter."

In a wide-ranging press conference, Smith reacted to reports Rangers boss Walter Smith had ruled out a return to the job he left in 2007, saying: "We will not be discussing any names whatsoever in the process going forward.

"We didn't the last time.

"I don't think it's fair to discuss any names in public."

Smith also insisted he would have no issue considering Craig Levein as a candidate, despite the Dundee United boss having had run-ins with the SFA chief in the past.

"I don't have any problem with anyone in the game and I don't know where these stories are coming from," Smith said.

"Everyone will be considered as a candidate.

"I can't think of anyone who will turn me down on a personal basis.

"I don't have any personal agenda.

"I'm looking for the best candidate for the Scotland job, the best manager, that will be my only consideration as it will be for the board of directors."

Smith also revealed the SFA had yet to decide whether or not a foreigner would be considered for the post.

He added: "We haven't decided on that yet.

"We will be sitting down shortly to look at the criteria.

"We're looking for someone who's got experience and authority and a reputation in the game, that's the type of person we are looking for, to take the team to the next level, which would be for qualification for the European championships in 2012."

Smith claimed the SFA they were not as badly off in financial terms as some believe.

"We will have more money coming in to the SFA because we have put a new broadcasting deal in place which begins in 2010," he said.

"But we have other avenues for the money, it's not just about giving it to one person in order to take the job forward.

"It's about finding the right candidate at the right price."

Next Permanent Scotland manager Win Special: Levein, C 2/1  

Source: Team_Talk