Matt Ritchie had mixed feelings on Friday night.

The Newcastle winger started his first game for Scotland in 17 months and was arguably the best player on the home side.

However, they lost to World Cup finals’ bound Costa Rica and the Scotland fans booed the team off at the end.

It was the first game for Alex McLeish as he once again assumes control after having a 10 month spell back in 2007 as manager, before resigning and taking the Birmingham job.

Matt Ritchie played all but the last minutes last night, subbed in the 87th minute.

The winger has called on Scotland fans to stop the boos and instead give time and support to the new manager and new look team.

Ritchie says that you could already see improvement in the team from the first half to second half against Costa Rica.

Ritchie came closest to scoring for a Scotland team that also included former Newcastle centre-back Grant Hanley, who played the full match.

Matt Ritchie speaking after Scotland fans booed the team off the pitch:

“We need their support and hopefully we can have a successful spell.

“It’s the first game and I understand they want to win, we want to win more than anyone, but it’s a work in progress.

“I know they are frustrated after the last campaign but we all need to be pulling in the same direction.

“[It was] A good exercise.

“It is a new manager with new ideas and I think you could see from the first half to the second half it was much improved. That was down to the lads getting to know each other.

“It was a good night, not the result we were hoping for but, second-half, we definitely created some good chances.

“Hopefully we can continue to improve and be ready for the qualifiers when they come.

“The manager has come in, it’s a fresh, young group and hopefully one that can develop and have a successful period for the country.

“Training has been brilliant all week. A lot of lads made their debuts and will be happy to get that out of the way. Then they can kick on and really find their feet.”

“(After coming closest to scoring for Scotland) I was in two minds whether to take another touch or hit one and the surface wasn’t the best, I tried to put my foot through it but it was right at the goalie. Maybe I should have slipped it the other side of him.

“The main thing is we want to win games, to have that winning mentality,

“In the first half there were probably some small details that as a team we didn’t get right, but that’s down to the players.

“I’m sure the manager will have noticed that and we’ll go and work on that in the next few days.

“If the improvement from the first half to the second half can continue, we’ll be going in the right direction.”



  • Rich Lawson

    Maybe stop the booze 1st,but they’ve got a point,Scotland should be beating Costa Rica at home all day long ? You pay your money !

  • Wor Monga

    Nobody works harder and competes over the 90+ minutes than Matt Ritchie, but Scotland despite all the great talent they’ve given the game in the past are now nothing more than a footballing backwater going gradually downhill…whereas S American, and Central American teams are now developing some real exciting managers and playing talent that will progress ultimately into the teams of Europe and the World…

    …it’s all to do with the hunger to reach the top and develop, that Scottish football experienced, and then forgot, back in the days of yore

    • Jezza

      The current state of Scottish football is very sad indeed. I remember back in the 70’s when at least half of the top players in England were Scots and the Scottish national team went to two successive World Cups that England failed to qualify for. Scotland is a once proud footballing nation with a great tradition in the game and it’s awful to see what has become of them now.

      • Wor Monga

        I agree the best ballplayers in English teams were Scots…even though most only had 1 leg and the other was just for standing on…Jinky Jim, Jim Baxter, George Herd, Dave Hilley etc…the list goes on and on, but the best of all was Denis Law who could put his foot on the ball, and look around, in a crowded penalty box (like Best who could sit on it)…

        …they don’t exist now because the Scottish game (like the English one ) doesn’t encourage it any more…they just buy a cheaper player in from S America or wherever!!!

        • Wor Monga

          Felt a bit like Wor Auld Fella when I was writing that…cos he was always telling me about ‘Shack’ (Len Shackleton) when I was a youngun, I never saw him play, but I saw all those I mentioned many times, and always tried my utmost to emulate!!!

  • ghostrider

    Scotland performed better years ago and in a time when you couldn’t just make up an extra excuse for some player to play for them, such as, ” my granny was married to a man who uncles great grandads sisters husbands great great great grandfathers other great great great great great great grandfathers grandsons father’s full cousins great great grandfathers sons mother.
    And blah blah blah.

    They should be competing with England because they seem to have as much choice with all this clap trap. Same as wales and Ireland.

    • Mark Potter

      FIFA statute, Article 7: Acquisition of a new nationality, states:

      Any player … who assumes a new nationality and who has not played international football [in a match (either in full or in part) in an official competition of any category or any type of football] shall be eligible to play for the new representative team only if he fulfils one of the following conditions:
      a) He was born on the territory of the relevant association;
      b) His biological mother or biological father was born on the territory of the relevant association;
      c) His grandmother or grandfather was born on the territory of the relevant association;
      d) He has lived continuously for at least five years after reaching the age of 18 on the territory of the relevant association.

  • nufcslf

    Good honest footballer, but as a paying customer and watching one result after the other is just not good enough. Fans have every right to boo, shout and chant for or against the performances served up.