So, like many in Dick Advocaat's Rangers squad back in those days, I had my fair share of run-ins with the man who was my team-mate for three years at Ibrox from 2000 to 2003. Whether it was the training ground, the playing field or off the park, Fernando lived his life on the edge. He was always treading a fine line, but eventually I would get an idea about the real reasons behind it all.
I know for a fact he had medical issues back then - he was having treatment for a condition to do with his nerves - but it all depended on Fernando's mood: if he was in a bad mood he would bring it to the training ground. Anything could make him erupt, and I mean anything.
One example came during a training match up at Stepps, where the club used to be based in the days before Murray Park. Andrei Kanchelskis held the ball up and laid it off, only for Fernando to kick him from behind.
Andrei, being the nice guy, turned to him and said: "I am your team-mate, why are you doing that?" When Fernando did it again, Andrei once more tried to defuse the situation, but Fernando, being Fernando, did it one more time, and must have regretted it when Andrei grabbed him by the throat and hit him three times.
Fernando was usually the common denominator when any trouble started. He famously had to be substituted in the 6-2 game at Parkhead in 2000 in case he got sent off.
He would also continually kick Neil McCann late at training. For a wee winger, Neil was quite a hardy boy so the two of them would be flying into tackles, and I was the same at times.
Once during a game after I had moved to Dundee United I was playing directly up against Craig Moore, my best pal, and accidentally caught him in the eye with my finger, and cut it open.
The two of us were giggling about it when Fernando ran over from about 30 yards away and tried to get involved. So I grabbed him, and before I knew it Oz was backing me up, and pushing Fernando away, even though I was playing for the opposition.
Everybody knows the story about Fernando being sent home from a pre-season trip to South Africa for bad behaviour on the plane and I'm sure he'd admit the drink didn't help him. For a foreign signing, he was maybe as close as you would get to that destructive Scottish mentality with alcohol. It was like a nervous thing with him. He was hyperactive and always had to be doing something - you might even say he had a bit of Gazza in him.
I remember one team-bonding session when we were building up to play Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup final. We had already won the league, and Dick sent us to Marbella, which was incredible because we still had Hearts to play on the Saturday.
My word, we bonded. Everybody to a man had a drink, and that included those who were usually non-drinkers, like Stefan Klos. One night Neil McCann and I were walking home when Fernando appeared. There was building work going on, and from nowhere he just did a 20-yard run and a dive into this pile of sand. Then he took his mobile phone from his pocket and splattered it into a wall, thinking it was funny. We told him to calm down and basically carried him in. The truth was he was on the verge because he hadn't taken his medication and he wanted more to drink.
Everbody saw the mad side of Fernando - I certainly witnessed it first hand - but there was also a genuine, sincere side which I saw when we shared a couple of quiet one-to-one chats en route to training one pre-season. He told me about the big problems he had during his upbringing, and once you dug beneath all the bravado your heart went out to the boy. Because I went to Rangers as an older professional, I was getting to the point where I was thinking about family and security and you forgot that Fernando was a young lad.
I always knew he would be one of the guys you would be worrying about longer term about something or other, but I never suspected he would fall victim to such a terrifying illness as motor neurone disease aged just 37.
I've read that a fit and active mind and body might help in some way against this horrendous disease and if that is the case then good, because Fernando was an absolute machine, he didn't carry any weight. He was also a really good player who played for Holland and big clubs and I'm not sure he could have done much more in the game.
He had a real genuine side to him and that is why I wish him every good fortune in his battle against illness. His tenacity will stand him in good stead.
MOST managers would have folded before Pat Fenlon did so I think you have to credit him for that at least. To come back and put points on the board for Hibernian after those wounding defeats to Hearts in the Scottish Cup final and Malmo in the Europa League took some doing, but I think he was fighting a losing battle there.
He was unlucky with the injury to Alex Harris, who might have provided some natural width, and things might have been different if they had taken a deserved lead against Hearts in midweek. But after five Hibs managers in a row who haven't made it to two years in charge, there is more pressure than ever for Rod Petrie to get the next appointment right.