Hutton defends Scottish duo
Alan Hutton is surprised by the lifetime bans handed out to Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor
Last Updated: 25/04/09 12:54pm
Alan Hutton has defended two of his close friends whose recent behaviour earned them a lifetime international ban.
The Scottish Football Association came down hard on Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor after they drank throughout the early hours of the morning following the side's World Cup qualifying defeat in Holland.
Even though the pair - who were dropped for the following match against Iceland - were then caught making V-signs at photographers, Hutton says their punishment is too strict.
Tottenham full-back Hutton, a team-mate of both players before joining Spurs in January last year, says Ferguson and Hutton have learned their lesson and are keen to represent their country again.
Hutton told The Independent: "They were silly, they were daft but they have owned up to it.
"They are close friends of mine and they have taken their punishment on the chin and I think they just want to move on, they have said sorry for what they have done. What they have been given [the punishment] is really strict, they have learned their lesson.
"It was a surprise but I don't think in their eyes they knew that it would come to this. I don't think they would have thought of the consequences that followed. But they have said sorry."
Hutton was one of four players who began drinking with Ferguson and McGregor from around 4am at Scotland's team hotel following the World Cup qualifying loss.
The quartet all went to bed long before the Rangers duo, who were discovered still at the bar at lunchtime by manager George Burley.
Sat on the bench at Hampden Park, the pair then proceeded to make V-signs at photographers.
The Scottish FA banned them for life and they were also suspended for two weeks without pay by Rangers, while Ferguson was stripped of the club captaincy.
Hutton insists players should be allowed a drink every now and again as long as they do not abuse the privilege.
"I don't see a problem with having a drink in the right situation at the right time," he said.
"I am not saying 'Go out and have a drink the night before a game' - of course not - but if you are off that's fine."