Matt Ritchie has been in sparkling form recently after a poor to average season on the whole.

Scoring vital goals to help beat Southampton and Man Utd in the last two home matches, his overall game has also been far far better than what had gone before.

He has gone from Newcastle fans wondering if he still deserved a place in the team, to once again being seen as an automatic selection.

Therefore it would be gutting to lose him now, with Premier League safety potentially very close.

Monday morning brought the shock news that Matt Ritchie had been forced to leave the Scotland squad due to injury, after being withdrawn on 87 minutes in the 1-0 defeat by Costa Rica.

Hopes that this would be then later reported as simply a precaution, appear to have been dashed, with Newcastle United’s follow-up statement confirming that the winger has returned to Tyneside and will be ‘assessed’ this week, to see if he can face Huddersfield.

With 12 goals and 7 assists last season, Ritchie was Newcastle’s most creative player, whilst this time it is only 2 goals and 5 assists, but as I said earlier, looking far more dangerous and lively in recent matches.

Newcastle United Official Confirmation:

Matt Ritchie has been withdrawn from the Scotland squad ahead of Tuesday’s friendly against Hungary.

The winger – along with former Magpies team-mate Grant Hanley and Manchester United’s Scott McTominay – will not travel to Budapest. He will instead return to Newcastle, where he will be assessed ahead of the weekend’s crucial game against Huddersfield Town.

Ritchie played for 87 minutes as the Tartan Army lost 1-0 to Costa Rica on Friday in Alex McLeish’s first game back in charge of the national team. The Magpies man drew a good save from Real Madrid’s Keylor Navas with the hosts’ best chance of the match.

Meanwhile, Ciaran Clark was a 69th-minute substitute for Republic of Ireland as they lost 1-0 in Turkey and Aleksandar Mitrovic played the full game for Serbia in a 2-1 defeat to Morocco.

Henri Saivet was a 66th-minute arrival for Senegal in a 1-1 draw with Uzbekistan while Adam Wilson was an unused substitute for England under-18s as they beat their Argentina counterparts 2-1. The winger had made his international bow in a 4-0 victory over Qatar two days earlier.

On Saturday, England under-21s beat Romania 2-1 at Molineux, but Freddie Woodman was not part of the matchday squad.

Then on Sunday, Slovakia beat hosts Thailand 3-2 to win the four-team King’s Cup tournament in Bangkok. Martin Dúbravka, who had played in the first game, a 2-1 success against UAE, was an unused substitute but there was a first senior cap for former Newcastle Academy player Lubo Satka.’