spl news

Bougherra off the hook for returning to Gers late

October 19, 2009

Rangers defender Madjid Bougherra is set to face Unirea Urziceni on Wednesday night after Walter Smith accepted his reason for returning late from international duty.

Algeria star Bougherra was left out of the squad for Saturday's 2-1 Premier League win at St Johnstone after his no-show.

But he will not face any formal action after meeting with Ibrox boss Smith on Sunday and explaining he had his bag containing his passport and phone stolen in Paris just before he was due to fly back to Glasgow.

Smith said: "Madjid has explained the circumstances which led him to be late back from international duty and I accept what he's had to say. Initially, I was led to believe his belongings were stolen on Monday, but it turns out that happened on Thursday.

"In fairness, his agent contacted Ally McCoist and told him of the situation. Having now spoken to Madjid, there's no problem. That is the matter closed now.''

Bougherra, who was warned after reporting back late from international duty on a previous occasion, said: "After Algeria's game against Rwanda last Sunday, I had some days off.

"I had to be in Glasgow on Friday morning, but on the way home, I lost my passport, phone and money in Paris. I asked my agent to let the club know while I was dealing with the problems regarding my papers.

"I finally arrived back in Glasgow on Friday night and Walter Smith decided not to play me because I'd not trained on the eve of the match. But he has not punished me.

"I am here at Rangers, I want to stay here and I do not see why I would go to war with the club or deliberately try to cause such trouble.''