Comeback with character

Kane Ritchie-Hosler and Matty Todd back in action

In the unpredictable world of football, setbacks often become the true test of a player’s character and determination. For Dunfermline’s Kane Ritchie-Hosler and Matty Todd, their recent journeys back from injury is a testament to their resilience, dedication, and the unwavering support system within the football club.

Their journey to reclaim their spots in the squad against Dundee United last Friday and make comebacks as second half substitutes is a story that deserves acclaim.  Manager James McPake candidly spoke about the challenges faced by the two players, particularly highlighting Kane Ritchie-Hosler’s unfortunate “double blow.” 

After a successful campaign last year, both players faced the disappointment of injuries disrupting their momentum. McPake acknowledged their frustrations of double blows – getting a taste by coming back in, only to be quickly back out.

Kane Ritchie-Hosler made 22 appearances last season while on loan from Rangers. After signing for Dunfermline in the summer the 21 year old was looking good in pre-season matches however injury and subsequent surgery to his right ankle delayed Kane’s competitive debut this season until the away game at Inverness on 2nd September.  His bad luck returned only days later when he damaged his right knee in training. Kane would undergo two surgeries after his initial return from injury.

Having missed the end of the previous season with appendicitis and the start of this season after an operation on his nose, Matty Todd played 90 minutes in the Viaplay Cup against Raith on Saturday 15th July, but 28 minutes into the next match against Annan Athletic the following Tuesday, his ankle gave up and surgery was required.

The setbacks occurred after both players had experienced what their boss described as their “best season to date.” Their impressive performances were marked by “a lot of good play and a lot of experience of enjoying first-team football.” This only heightened the disappointment of having to watch from the sidelines for so long this season.

McPake took some solace out of the pair having completed his pre-season programme before hitting their problems, recognising its pivotal role in a player’s readiness for the season ahead:- “To get through a full pre-season and then get injured, you can look at it in two ways. If they don’t do the pre-season then everybody says you’re chasing it, and I believe in that, pre-seasons are really important.

Acknowledging the mental toll of such setbacks, McPake spoke about the character-building aspect of facing adversity in football.

“You’re on a high and then all of a sudden you get a heavy defeat or an injury, whatever.  For 10 or 15 years, however long they’ve got left, I think it will stand them in good stead for the next time they get injured, I just hope it’s not as quick.”

The commitment and determination displayed by Ritchie-Hosler and Todd during their rehabilitation did not go unnoticed. Their manager commended the players for attending every game, a gesture that exceeded expectations:-

“In terms of how they’ve handled themselves through the rehab – both of them have been at every game as well, which isn’t a rule. I know at some clubs they make them go. I’ve been that injured player that has been made to go. Sometimes you just need a break, you’re working hard all week on your rehab and sometimes its the last thing you want to do, sit and watch your team-mates because you’re desperate to be out there.

“So credit to those two and even the rest who have been injured. There is a real spirit in there: they come to the games, they help their team-mates on that and they’re bubbly about the place. That’s surprised me because, particularly Kane, he had that injury, got back and had another two surgeries basically after that. He still walked about with a smile on his face, Matty the same.  I know what the two of them are like, they’re desperate to be playing, desperate to be training.”

The story of these players serves as a testament to the spirit required to overcome setbacks in football, leaving manager and fans hopeful for a triumphant and injury-free future for the resilient duo.

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