Barry Ferguson has been tipped to succeed in the Premier League for Birmingham City.

His manager at Rangers, Walter Smith, sent him on his way from Glasgow with an encouraging endorsement for Blues.

Ferguson spent 18 months at Blackburn Rovers from August 2003 after Graeme Souness shelled out £7.5 million for him. In the December of his first season, he suffered a bad injury that kept him out for the remainder of the campaign.

“He’s a good player, of course he’ll do well,” said Smith.

“He’s had the experience already although, the last time he went to Blackburn, he was hampered by a serious injury. But that shouldn’t hide the fact that he did well down there, anyone who saw him play at that time will tell you that. It’s not another world of football. He’s a good player and he can go and play in it.”

It’s been a pretty miserable last 12 months for Ferguson, who was affected by injury and shot to notoriety in the ‘boozegate’ row when on duty for Scotland.

He was dropped by national team manager George Burley and then subsequently banned from playing for Scotland again after a late-night drinking session. Smith then stripped him of the Rangers captaincy.

Ferguson helped Rangers to the Scottish Premier League and Scottish Cup double, but the writing was on the wall and Smith admitted it was the ‘best thing’ that he moved on from Ibrox.

“I think it is the best thing for both parties, taking into consideration everything that happened last season plus the fact he’s coming into the last season of his contract anyway,” he commented.

Ferguson’s £1.25 m addition made him Alex McLeish’s eighth signing for Blues since promotion from the Coca-Cola Championship, although Stephen Carr and Lee Bowyer were already at the club, on a short-term contract and loan respectively.

Ferguson flew out with Blues last night for their pre-season tour of Austria. The squad are staying in the Alpine village of Westendorf in the Tirol and have three friendlies fixed up, the first of which is tomorrow against vfB Stuttgart in Zell am See.

Krystian Pearce’s season-long loan to Peterborough United meant that Jacob Rowe was drafted into the squad to bolster the defensive options.