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Garry O’Connor has apologised to Scotland manager Walter Smith after failing to turn up at the hotel before the trip to Ukraine for Wednesday’s Euro 2008 qualifier.

“I apologise to the Scottish Football Association, Walter Smith and his staff,” he said.

“At the earliest opportunity, I hope to meet with Walter Smith, face-to-face, to explain my reasons.”

The 23-year-old, who moved to Lokomotiv Moscow from Hibs in March, came on as a substitute in Scotland’s shock 1-0 win over France on Saturday.

But, after the players were given the evening off to celebrate with their families, it is understood that O’Connor’s agent Gary Mackay telephoned the SFA to say that his client would not be returning to the team hotel. No explanation was given for his absence.

“On my return to Moscow, I will be concentrating on doing my very best for Lokomotiv while hoping my Scotland team-mates continue their great start to this campaign,” O’Connors statement continued.

Scotland assistant Tommy Burns admitted that the events had left Smith angry, but he denied that the incident meant an end to O’Connor’s Soctland career.

“Sure, it has got everybody focussing on something other than the game,” said Burns.

“He (Smith) is very open-minded and very compassionate.

“It is something the manager will deal with personally.

“There is no cause for hysteria. Like everyone else in life, footballers have problems too, but I am sure it will all be sorted out.

“And, until we know what the background is, we should not be jumping to too many conclusions.”

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