By Russell Edge

Newcastle United attacker Matt Ritchie has been ruled out of the Scotland squad for their World Cup qualifiers against Slovakia and Slovenia.

The Scottish FA confirmed on their official Twitter account that the winger, who starred in Newcastle’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Sunday, had been withdrawn from the squad for the country’s crucial fixtures.

Newcastle based newspaper the Chronicle have reported on the live blog (02/10, 10:25) on their website that the 28-year-old picked up a knock during the clash at St James’ Park.

It is said that Ritchie pulled himself out of the squad as a precaution and that he will use the two week break to recuperate from injury.

Scotland’s matches over the international break will be crucial to securing a potential place at next year’s World Cup finals.

Both Slovakia (one point ahead) and Slovenia (ahead on goal difference) sit above Gordon Strachan’s side in group F, so the Scots will know that successive victories could see them take the all important second place in the group.

Ritchie, who has 15 caps and three goals for his country, has played a crucial role for Newcastle since joining from Bournemouth in the summer of 2016.

He has made 56 appearances across all competitions, scoring 16 goals and chipping in with a further 14 assists as he helped the Magpies earn promotion to the top flight and make a bright start on their return.

In other Newcastle United news, fans have called one man ‘the best player in the world’ after his performance against Liverpool.

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