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5 of 021

Maradona arrives in Scotland to a hero's welcome

• Hundreds of fans turn out to greet new Argentina coach
• Rangers midfielder Ferguson to take decision on fitness

* George Chesterton

Diego Maradona arrived in Scotland yesterday before his first game in charge of the Argentina national side on Wednesday. Hundreds of Scottish fans were at Glasgow airport to greet him, many hoping for an autographed picture of his "hand of God" goal against England in the 1986 World Cup.

The Argentina coach and World Cup winner - who was appointed last month after the resignation of Alfio Basile - had a police escort and, when asked how he felt on his arrival, he replied in Spanish: "Contento [happy]." His only response in English was: "I don't speak English."

After initially boarding a bus, the 48-year-old Maradona returned to the entrance of the airport and signed autographs, including one of a poster of his famous handball in the Estadio Azteca. Argentina will face George Burley's Scotland in a friendly at Hampden Park.

Burley is prepared to let Barry Ferguson decide whether he wants to lead Scotland after the Rangers manager, Walter Smith, expressed doubts about whether his midfielder was ready to resume the captaincy of the national side. Ferguson has been out for five months following ankle surgery.

"In a friendly, if anyone has a knock, we will speak to them," said Burley. "I wouldn't want to push Barry if he doesn't feel he could do his country justice."

The manager will be without the Rangers striker Kenny Miller, Hibernian's Steven Fletcher and the Sunderland goalkeeper Craig Gordon. Miller and Fletcher have unspecified injuries but both played 90 minutes for their clubs on Saturday. Gordon has been out for a month with a chipped ankle bone. The Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher, who sustained a knee injury during Saturday's 5-0 Premier League victory at home to Stoke City, is also ruled out.

Taken from the Guardian/Observer

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