RANGERS: Club confirms Kyle Lafferty will miss Hamilton game

Kyle Lafferty
Kyle Lafferty

Rangers have failed to persuade Northern Ireland to release Kyle Lafferty for club duty against Hamilton on Sunday.

The Ibrox club held talks with the Irish Football Association after it invoked FIFA's five-day rule following Lafferty's withdrawal from Michael O'Neill's squad at the last minute ahead of crunch Nations League games against Austria and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Iain Dowie

Iain Dowie

But the talks proved unsuccessful and a statement released by Rangers confirmed Lafferty will miss this Sunday's game, but added the club 'understands the position of the Irish FA'.

The statement said: "Rangers can confirm Kyle Lafferty will not be available for the match against Hamilton on Sunday after the Irish FA invoked FIFA's five-day rule.

"Talks have now been held among all parties and Rangers understands the position of the Irish FA.

"Kyle did not comply fully with international protocol but remains available for international selection."

It is believed Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill is also planning crunch talks with the front man in a bid to resolve his international future.

Things had been looking bleak for the international future of the Fermanagh man, who has scored 20 goals at international level, but it now seems O'Neill does not want to close the door on him completely.

Reports on Thursday morning suggest clear the air talks will be held in a bid to integrate Lafferty back into the squad for next month’s games against the Republic of Ireland and Austria or play a part in the Euro 2020 qualifiers which begin in March.

Lafferty ruled out as Irish FA confirm they have invoked FIFA regulation

Meanwhile, former Northern Ireland captain Iain Dowie has said Lafferty 'must want to play for Northern Ireland'.

"Kyle has done a fantastic job for us, he's a very important player for Northern Ireland but you've got to want play for your country," said Dowie.

"I don't know what is going on, it may be that he has got a legitimate injury and if he has that's fine but at the very heart of this you've got to want to play for Northern Ireland.

"No manager would have ever told me ever to pull out of a Northern Ireland squad nor any friend close to me would have even asked me that so I don't know the full story but if he's not injured he should have been there."