The Scottish forward admits that Steve Bruce visited his house after he missed training because of a broken gate

Ross McCormack has explained that the height of the fence at his house caused him to miss training at Aston Villa last month.

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The 30-year-old striker was lambasted by Villa manager Steve Bruce for missing training in January when his front gate did not open, with Bruce visiting McCormack’s house to investigate whether the excuse was legitimate.

McCormack, who has since joined Nottingham Forest on loan until the end of the season, insists he had genuine concerns about scaling the fence, saying the height put him off.

“The fence was taller than me and I’m not 4ft 6in,” McCormack told BBC Sport. “It was icy and raining. What if I’d rolled my ankle? It sounds far fetched but the gate was stuck… I had to wait for the company.”

The incident caused widespread amusement but McCormack has denied that Bruce tried to climb over the fence. He added: “Some of the things [reports] have been a bit over the top, borderline embarrassing. It gives the press free rein to make up sheer lies. The stuff about the gaffer jumping the fence and us having a blazing row is complete nonsense.

“He came round to have a look at the gates. He didn’t stop. He didn’t get out of the car. You don’t get much signal in the house so I was standing at the top window on the phone trying to get it fixed and I’ve seen him pull up and drive away.”

Villa signed McCormack from Fulham for £12m last summer but failed to live up to the big price tag. He left on transfer deadline day but will be ineligible for Forest’s game with Villa on Saturday.