FERNANDO Ricksen, the Rangers footballer, was fined (pounds) 7000 yesterday over a row with a neighbour about fireworks.

The controversial Dutch international pled guilty to assault and breach of the peace after an incident near his former home in Newton Mearns, near Glasgow, last November.

After the hearing at Paisley Sheriff Court, James Peacock, the player's lawyer, said his client was going to lodge an appeal against the fine, which he described as ''excessive''.

Ricksen, 27, who has been involved in a number of highly-publicised incidents on and off the park, had denied both charges and was due to stand trial, but changed his plea in court yesterday.

He admitted assaulting Andrew Killen and causing a breach of the peace by letting off fireworks and shouting and swearing during the row early on November 24, 2002.

Ricksen, who has been capped eight times for Holland, was fined (pounds) 5000 for assault and (pounds) 2000 for breach of the peace.

Alex McLeish, the Rangers manager, warned his players that he expected their off-field behaviour to be as good as their performances on the pitch.

''Players are wearing the [club] badge 24-7, to coin a phrase, and it is important when they have such a huge public profile that they will be scrutinised, especially at big clubs,'' he said.

Ricksen has rarely been out of the headlines in recent times. In August, an Aberdeen fan admitting launching a karate-style kick at Ricksen during a match between the two clubs at Pittodrie. Earlier this week, Jason Cowie, who has a history of psychological problems, was sent to a psychiatric hospital.

At another court case in February this year, Ricksen was fined (pounds) 500 and banned from driving for a year after being convicted of drink-driving.