The Scotland squad have met up for their first training session ahead of this week's games against Northern Ireland and Gibraltar. We caught up with the team's newest call-up, AFC Bournemouth's Matt Ritchie, on his hopes for this week:
Question: Welcome to the Scotland training base Matt - how has your experience been so far?
Matt Ritchie: It’s been great and obviously it’s been very exciting. I came up yesterday, met the lads and had dinner. Everyone seems really welcoming and I’m looking forward to getting out onto the training pitch.
Q: Are there any players you’re particularly looking forward to training with?
MR: Everyone. I think you look around the squad and there is so much quality. It’ll be great to be involved and train with the players. It’s something that will help my personal career too, learning from these top players.
Q: How can you carry your Bournemouth form onto the international stage?
MR: I’ll stick to my principles, work hard, try and adapt to the system and the way the manager wants to play. Hopefully I can train well and impress.
Q: And on the flip-side, how can being involved with Scotland help your club form?
MR: I think it’ll be great. I’m looking forward to playing with all the other players. They’re all top players - whether they're from the Championship, the Premier League or elsewhere, there is so much quality throughout the group. It’ll be a pleasure to be involved with them. I’m looking forward to training with them and picking up the pace of international football.
Q: You’re the Championship’s top assist maker, do you enjoy creating goals as much as scoring them?
MR: I’d be lying if I said I did! My manager Eddie Howe is always saying I should enjoy them as much as scoring. At the end of the day it’s a team game and if I can create goals then obviously I’m delighted, and that’s what I’ll be aiming to do.
Q: How will the team approach the games against Northern Ireland and Gibraltar?
MR: We’ve had a brief meeting this morning and we’ll be doing more preparation and training later on. I’m confident we can get some good results come the end of the week.
Q: What’s your biggest achievement in football?
MR: Probably this. Being called up to the Scotland squad is a great achievement, hopefully I can impress and feature again. I’m really looking forward to it.
Matt Ritchie - AFC Bournemouth
2014/15 Championship season
Appearances - 37(2)
Minutes - 3108
Goals - 11
Assists - 13