Rangers have moved quickly and decisively to strip Barry Ferguson of his captaincy and drop goalkeeper Allan McGregor after the pair's dismal behaviour whilst on international duty this week. The manager of Rangers, Walter Smith, revealed that such firm action had been taken not solely as a result of the players' initial breach of conduct (which saw them indulge in a late night drinking session) but as a result of their actions during Wednesday night's clash against Iceland.
The controversy began when it became clear that the Scottish pair had stayed up late drinking after the defeat at the hands of the Netherlands last weekend. The manager of the national team, George Burley, quite rightly decided to drop the pair to the bench for the subsequent match against Iceland.
However, rather than appearing ashamed or sorry for their behaviour, the players brought more trouble upon themselves by sitting on the bench making V-signs with their fingers. They have both been suspended for two weeks after being sent home from training earlier today and this latest controversy has put their long-term futures at the club into doubt.
This latest story is the last thing that football, as a sport, needs at the moment. High-profile footballers seem to be doing all they can to sour the reputation of the game, often appearing like pampered, spoilt little kids who think they can take the ridiculous amount of money being paid to them for granted.
Rangers are right to have taken action against the players for events which occurred whilst on international duty. Not many people in the UK, especially at the moment, believe that footballers are worthy of the wages they receive and we expect professional players to at least try to justify such financial excess by staying away from the booze and late night frolics whilst playing for their country.
Furthermore, we expect them to know that they are not above the law. If the manager drops them, they need to do all they can to prove themselves again, both on and off the pitch. The last thing they should be doing is sitting on the bench behaving like 5-year-olds.
The president of the SFA may decide to launch an investigation into the events and further Scotland players may yet become involved in this unfortunate saga. For now, Rangers must hope that new captain, David Weir, will be able to guide the club successfully for the remainder of the season but don't waste your next football bet by predicting that this kind of situation won't happen again in the near future.