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Newcastle Player Given Lavish Praise By Scotland Manager

Two of Newcastle’s new players Matt Richie and Grant Hanley both started for Scotland last night in the 5-1 win in Malta, but after taking an early lead Malta surprised Scotland by equalizing after 13 minutes and it was still 1-1 at half-time.

But Scotland went on to win 5-1 and made a good start to their World Cup qualifying.

But during that first half it was a little scary for Scotland being held by a side that is ranked 176th in the world.

Scotland are ranked 51st with England 13th, Wales 11th and Northern Ireland 28th.

scotland team at malta 5-1

Scotland’s team before the game in Malta
Hanley at the back – number 5 and Ritchie at front – number 11

Robert Snodgrass of Hull City scored a great hat-trick in what turned out to be a comfortable win for Gordon Strachan’s side after two Malta players were sent off.

Scotland are in the same group F as England, Slovakia and Lithuania – so some tougher tests lie ahead for the Scots.

Speaking to The Scottish Sun after the game Gordon Strachan seemed a relieved man and he picked out Newcastle winger Matt Ritchie as one player for some special praise:

“Everybody had concern. We were lucky we had a bunch of lads who could deal with the stress that manifested itself because of that goal.”

“A lot of teams have not got that.” “It just shows that in a crisis they can deal with it, these players, and that was a crisis at 1-1.”

“The fans went from everybody enjoying themselves to ‘Uh oh’.”

“I thought Barry Bannan was excellent under pressure.”

“Matt Ritchie excellent, Snodgrass just when the pressure was on. They were good and Darren Fletcher, as well, never flinched,”

Matt Ritchie will be gaining from the excellent coaching of Rafa Benitez and he has looked a very good player for the Magpies so far this season.

matt richie scotalnd in Malta

Matt Ritchie in action for Scotland yesterday

It was good to see the two Newcastle lads get a start last night in what turned out to be a good result in the end for Scotland after a little scare in that first half.

Reading the reports of the match in Scotland today it seems Grant looked a little rusty in the first half, but that’s probably due to him not playing too much at Newcastle yet – that should change soon.

In the same group F England won in Slovakia 1-0 yesterday with a 95th minute winner from Adam Lallana in Sam Allardyce’s debut as the England manager.

Comments welcome.

8 comments so far

  • Jib

    Sep 5, 2016 at 9:27 AM

    Comment #1

    I guess it was the Maltese manager Pietro Ghedin who came up with the brilliant plan to get physical with the Scots.
    Bad move Pietro

  • Spoof

    Sep 5, 2016 at 9:34 AM

    Comment #2

    Ritchie and Gayle have been the stand out players for us so far this season, Townsend was great for us but due to Ritchie he hasn’t been missed as Ritchie has been that good, and Gayle is a natural goal scorer who is also a great team player using his pace and movement to great effect, however both of them need Hayden to continue doing so well in the midle of the pitch because without the ball both Ritchie and Gayle would be wasted, those three have so far been key, and they are all British, hopefully that fact will resonate with Ashley and he then continues to allow Rafa to do it his way and not that silly young foreign way.

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Sep 5, 2016 at 9:35 AM

    Comment #3

    I don’t think Hanley is a bad defender that part of his job he can do well and there will not be many strikers who will beat him in the air!

    To get the best out of him you need to be playing with a pacy ball playing centre half beside him such as Mbemba!

    Scotland unfortunately have Martin playing beside him who makes Hanley look a lot worse than he actually is! It was Martin who fell asleep for the Malta goal

  • Spoof

    Sep 5, 2016 at 9:55 AM

    Comment #5

    How was the England performance last night, I did have it on but after 15 minutes I decided that was enough for me, I switched it off and watched songs of praise instead, did we improve after the 15 minutes that I witnessed or did I make the right decision.

  • Budge123

    Sep 5, 2016 at 10:01 AM

    Comment #6

    100% right spoof

  • murvar

    Sep 5, 2016 at 10:58 AM

    Comment #7

    Typical England Spoof. Songs of Praise far more uplifting I imagine. Dreary slow no movement until Skirtl got himself sent off. one thing to note – no long balls! all sideways and back till the last c20 minutes. Sterling was awful.

  • ballerfan2

    Sep 5, 2016 at 11:53 AM

    Comment #8

    Murvar said “Sterling was awful”. May I add to that observation. So was Kane – 2 players who have been so out of form since March/April that neither should be anywhere near an England team at the moment. I stress ‘at the moment’ as both are talented but need the confidence of playing well for their clubs for a period before being picked again.


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