Saturday, 13 June 2015

Is Ritchie about to run the show for Scotland today?

The best laid plans sometimes go horribly wrong. I had this story all mapped out with Harry Arter to come up against Matt Ritchie  - "When Harry met Matt". It might not have been much of a film title, but it would have been tantalising to see the two Bournemouth players go head to head at the Aviva stadium in Dublin for their respective national sides. We don't know if Harry would have been selected to start of course, but as it happened, he managed to get a groin strain on Thursday which now leaves the stage open for Matt Ritchie to try and perhaps shatter both Harry's and the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2016 dreams.  

Matt will look to add to his Scottish goal scoring total. 
Pundits have been saying that it is really a must win game for the Republic as they are a couple of points behind Scotland and need to stay in contention with Poland and Germany by getting the win at home. A draw might not spell bad news for Scotland, but I don't expect them to hold anything back in this tie which is very winnable for either side on their day.

It is perhaps good for AFCB that the two players did not go at each other in this high tension game. I expect Arter will quickly be nursed back to full fitness ready for the new season. Ritchie is likely to start against the Republic having played in Scotland's last three fixtures and scoring the last time out when Scotland beat Qatar. Now he has to follow that up with another strong performance and I expect him to do exactly that.

Expect Harry to also get stuck in if he gets a chance.
How things have changed for both players though and for AFCB. The pace that football moves in is quite astounding in terms of careers. For many it is over all too quickly, but for some the rewards keep coming and you have to say this is an exceptional period for the Cherries and the players are fitting into international squads knowing that they are good enough to be there now.

While it might not be the showpiece AFCB fans had hoped for I still believe the Republic of Ireland v Scotland match in Dublin's at (5pm) will be the most competitively fought game this Saturday - it's well worth a viewing to see how Matt does. Meanwhile, Artur Boruc is also in Poland's squad against Georgia and England will be taking on Slovenia.

Finally, I suggest you all take a very detailed look at the Official AFCB website that has released information on how the point system will work for fans that want to go to home, away and cup matches - the priority points system. It will take a bit of getting used to but we should all get the hang of it when you go and see your points total next week.

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