THERE could have been few more tranquil places for the reporters who have been covering the Scotland tour of South and Central America to unwind with a richly-deserved cerveza after the exertions of the previous day than the bar of the Royal Pedregal Hotel here in Mexico City on Wednesday night.

The aftermath of the friendly against Peru the evening before had been fraught – there was a struggle past the delirious home supporters in the bowels of the National Stadium to conduct interviews, a fight through the near-permanent gridlock of Lima city centre and a race against time to file copy before catching a six hour flight.

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Sitting watching the koi carp dart to and fro and red-eared slider turtles clamber on the rocks in the adjacent ornamental fish pond underneath towering palm trees as the sun set while sipping a chilled Dos Equis XX, the stresses of the previous 24 hours quickly disappeared.

It was bizarre, and not, it must be admitted, a little amusing, to think of what had taken place in the exact same idyllic spot just a month or so previously.

As the hotel residents, wealthy foreign tourists and the more well-heeled inhabitants of the capital, had sat enjoying their evening meals, an inebriated Carlos Pena breenged in and proceeded to drop his breeks and urinate in the pond. If you’ve got to go you’ve got to go. He then became embroiled in an altercation with irate staff who tried to get him to return to his room.

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Scottish football isn’t exactly short of tales of players who had talent, fame and wealth only to squander it all in spectacular fashion because of the demon drink.

But the fall of Pena, whose multi-million pound transfer to Rangers last summer and subsequent loan move back to Cruz Azul in his homeland have both been unmitigated disasters, is as sorry as any of them.

The midfielder, who has been told he had no future at the Liga MX club managed by former Ibrox manager Pedro Caixinha, has this week checked himself into the Baja el Sol rehabilitation clinic in Sinaloa in a bid to cure his alcohol addiction. It is to be hoped he is successful. However, you fear for his chances of reviving his playing career.

One of the many unfortunate remarks that Caixinha made during his ill-fated spell in this country last year was “the dogs are barking but the caravan is moving”.

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Pena, his most expensive summer signing, looked as though he was towing a caravan behind him on the handful of occasions he took to the field. It is difficult to remember a more unathletic specimen playing in the game in this country. And there is fierce competition for that dubious distinction. When he returned to his homeland in January few fans mourned his departure.

But ‘twas not always thus. At one time not so long ago he had been highly-regarded, revered even, in Mexico. He will obviously not be part of the side which will step up their preparations for the Russia 2018 finals by taking on Scotland in front of just shy of 90,000 spectators in the fabled Azteca Stadium in the early hours of tomorrow morning. That, though, wasn’t always the case.

The 28-year-old has been capped 19 times for El Tricolour. He appeared in four games for them during their run to the semi-finals of the Gold Cup in 2013. He played in their final group match against Croatia at the World Cup in Brazil the following year.

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Pena certainly showed occasional flashes of what he is capable of for Rangers last season. The glancing header he scored in the 3-1 win over Partick Thistle at Firhill in September was sublime. His all-round display in the 3-0 triumph over Aberdeen at Ibrox in November had some eternal optimists in the stands predicting that he was poised to come good. It didn’t happen.

His agent, who will attempt to come to an agreement with Rangers over the remaining two years of his contract in the coming weeks, has claimed there is widespread interest in his client. But if he does clean himself up and get another club it will due to his reputation not his form. He only started two games for Cruz Azul and was booed by his own supporters before the fountain incident and his very public disgrace.

By all accounts, Pena was, despite not speaking a word of English, a decent trainer and a cheery presence around Auchenhowie when he was in Glasgow. Who knows what demons he is privately battling with? He deserves sympathy, not ridicule. But it will be no great surprise if he ends up as just another gifted footballer who had far too much far too young, blew his chances and drifted out of the game prematurely.