We know what we have to do, says Scotland midfielder Matt Ritchie

Scotland sit fourth in their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying group, four points behind second placed Slovakia. Midfielder Matt Ritchie has said his teammates understand the importance of the upcoming qualifiers as the Scots look to snatch a play-off spot.

Scotland will face Lithuania on Friday then host Malta three days later before playing Slovakia and Slovenia.

“We know what we have to do,” said Ritchie.

“We’ve looked at the numbers. We know that it’s important to get maximum points, but we go into every game hoping to win the game and preparing as if we want to win the game.

“Hopefully, performance can be good and with a good performance normally comes a victory.”

The Newcastle United midfielder has made a decent start to the new Premier League season on a personal level and featured in the Magpies’ 3-0 drubbing of West Ham United on Saturday. Ritchie believes hat Scotland have experienced a renewed sense of confidence following the 2-2 draw with England in June.

“Obviously, I missed that meet-up,” he said. “I’ve come back into the fold this time. You can feel that there’s a belief that we can get the points we need.

“It’s fantastic to get points on the board. Whether it’s club football or international football, if each individual player turns up and is confident and enjoying football, the group will only be stronger.

“So, it’s good that we’ve had a positive result at Newcastle and there’s other lads that have had positive results as well, so hopefully the confidence throughout the group individually is high.”

Ritchie admitted that international football has its own pressures as the expectations are huge, especially going into World Cup qualifiers but hopes this side can get past that.

“Playing international football, there’s always the pressure. The expectation is huge and the lads know that. We have to be able to handle it and that’s part and parcel of being an international player.”

Scotland are in Group F which is still being led by England who are two points clear of second place Slovakia.

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