IT'S the grudge match that is pure murder, with killer passes and players that are experts at dead ball situations.

Crime writers are courting controversy by staging a Scotland versus England five-a-side match, two days after the result of the Scottish independence referendum, and already there is a friendly dispute over the participation of one player.

The Scots believe justice will be served by the inclusion in their side of hitman Arild Stavrum, once a striker for Aberdeen in the top tier of Scottish football between 1999 and 2001.

The English say the Norway-born striker should be axed. The England captain Mark Billingham said: "Arild Stavrum is as Scottish as I am."

But the Scots say Stavrum's connection with Scottish football and the fact his debut crime novel was published by Glasgow-based Freight Books means they are not guilty of just bringing in a ringer.

The 42-year-old former Norway international, whose playing career also included clubs such as Besiktas, Helsingborg and Molde, remains out of both starting line-ups, although closing arguments are being prepared over his participation.

The rest of the England team consists of Martyn Waites, Luca Veste, Vincent Holland-Keen and Ragnar Jonasson. Lining up for Scotland will be Ian Rankin, Christopher Brookmyre, Craig Robertson, Doug Johnstone and Neil Broadfoot.

The caper is being staged on the historic Cowane's Hospital bowling green in the heart of Stirling's Old Town as part of Bloody Scotland, the three-day international crime writing festival that starts on September 19.

Organisers decided they wanted to add some spice to the event, which showcases the very best Scottish and international crime writing.

Those participating are expecting the September 20 trial by football to be criminal, as many taking part are not at their fittest.

Craig Robertson, Bloody Scotland board member and the writer behind the match, added: "The fact it is two days after the independence referendum gives it an extra edge. Crime writers always get on well, but this might be the thing that puts an end to that.

"We will see how the English boys handle it once they lose.

"It should be fun. I say fun, it will be deadly serious and there may be casualties. There has been a fair bit of trash talk between the two sides already and it is only going to get worse.

"There is delicate negotiation going on over the eligibility of Arild Stavrum, who is appearing at the festival and wants to play. Both sides want him."

Chris Brookmyre added: "I have not played five-a-side in the last year or so, I play a lot more tennis than football. I am expecting the fitness levels will be quite low among crime writers.

"I keep fairly fit, but I am slightly apprehensive of the notion. I never even got a game for the school team. My position? It's the old joke, left back in the dressing room."

The match will start at 1.30pm. Tickets are not required and entry is free.