Any chance the reverse lock out plate is missing from the shifter? Without that, both 5th and reverse can be a bit difficult to find.
That plate is a small plastic "thing" on top of the sifter under the gaiter. The tube under the shift knob guides along the edge of the plate to align the sifter for both 5th (tube down) and reverse (tube up).
Remove the boot cover on the stick shift and make sure that the "tab" is lifting up and over the stop guide, otherwise it won't go into Reverse. So, when you lift up on the ring under the shifter knob, it lifts up a "tab" so the actual shifter can go further right and into reverse. Check this out first before thinking it's the trans.
EDIT: I hope you aren't still no-lifting while shifting and that could be an issue too.
The lock out plate is missing,was not there when I got the car.I think its a linkage problem Im just wondering if reseting the linkage will help?It feels like a rubbery feel and then it will just slide in after going through the gears a few times.When its in gear it seems fine.The previos owner was a saab nut and I wonder would there be a reason that he would have done something to the shifter to help shifti ng [short shift] that would have removed the lock out?