Scotland VS Ukraine LIVE Football Score 21/09/2022
Scotland face a Nations League double-header against Ukraine either side of a home match against the Republic of Ireland at Hampden Park; Ukraine lead the group by a point from Scotland; Rangers goalkeeper Robby McCrorie has been drafted into the squad Scotland then face Ireland at the National Stadium on Saturday evening before a trip to Poland to take on Ukraine again the following Tuesday, and Clarke knows results could have a significant bearing on the chances of qualifying for the next European Championship finals. “The Nations League is important as we know because we qualified for Euro 2020 through the Nations League,” he said. “Also if we have a good week we could be seeded for the draw in October for Euro 2024, so it’s an important competition for us.”
Rangers goalkeeper Robby McCrorie has been drafted into the squad after the withdrawals of fellow Ibrox stopper Jon McLaughlin. Striker Jacob Brown and defender Grant Hanley have also left the squad ahead of the triple-header. Less than four months after battling it out in the World Cup playoffs, Scotland and Ukraine reconvene in the UEFA Nations League on Wednesday. They both ultimately missed out on a place at Qatar 2022, but occupy the top two spots in League B Group 1 with a game in hand on the other two nations.
Having fallen at the penultimate hurdle of qualifying for a first World Cup since 1998 – being beaten 3-1 by Ukraine at Hampden Park amid emotional scenes – Scotland started their Nations League campaign in the summer with six points from their first three fixtures. After beating Armenia home and away, Steve Clarke’s side sit second in League B Group 1, one point behind their Ukrainian counterparts and two ahead of the Republic of Ireland, despite losing their second game 3-0 in Dublin.
Scotland now play Ukraine twice either side of the return match against Ireland, so the events of the coming week will shape their Nations League destiny; deciding whether they can qualify for the competition’s top tier for the first time. Since ending 2021 with six wins in succession, the Tartan Army have won only two of their subsequent six outings – both against minnows Armenia – but there have been green shoots of recovery for a success-starved nation in recent times. With both Glasgow giants back in the big time, as they participate in this year’s Champions League group stage, and the national squad having taken part at Euro 2020, Clarke’s men will be keen to build momentum again and get the autumn action off to a winning start.
Standing in Scotland’s way on Wednesday – and then next Tuesday, in their temporary home of Krakow – will be a Ukraine squad that has endured much adversity over the past few months, and also narrowly missed out on a place in Qatar by losing to Wales in the playoff final. No competitive football has been played in the war-torn nation since December, when the Ukrayinska Premier Liha paused for its midwinter break, as fixtures were due to resume in late February until the Russian invasion occurred.
Despite the dangers, a new league season started in Kyiv last month, with all league games being played in the capital and further west, and Ukraine’s top clubs are back in European competition too – albeit with new-look squads; shorn of foreign stars. Since their heartbreaking defeat at Cardiff City Stadium, Oleksandr Petrakov’s team have begun their Nations League campaign unbeaten, and after seeing off Ireland and Armenia in their opening two games, they most recently squared off against Stephen Kenny’s side in Lodz.
Letting their 100% record slip, Ukraine were held to a 1-1 draw after Artem Dovbyk equalised a Nathan Collins opener, but they still sit top of League B Group 1 with seven points. Previously relegated from League A amid controversial circumstances – their decisive fixture with Switzerland was called off due to a COVID-19 outbreak and UEFA then forced them to forfeit the points – Ukraine will not be lacking in motivation this week, for any number of reasons.
Scotland sit second in Group B1, a point behind Ukraine, after a 3-0 loss away to the Republic of Ireland sandwiched between home and away wins over Armenia at the tail end of last seasoN. “I am sure Ukraine will play to the same level, but what I’m looking for from our team is that we get back to the level that we can be and then we’ll see what the result is,” Clarke said.
“I just feel that, in the summer, we stalled a little bit and we want to start that forward momentum again.” Oleksandr Petrakov’s visitors went on to lose their World Cup play-off final in Wales but arrive unbeaten in the Nations League having beaten the Republic in Dublin and Armenia at home before the Irish held them to a draw in their temporary home of Poland.
Clarke says he has been working on ways to combat “a very good team, very comfortable on the ball, good in possession and who showed they can play on the counter attack as well”. Clarke’s options in defence have been severely reduced after Norwich City’s Grant Hanley dropped out of a squad already shorn of fellow centre-backs John Souttar and Liam Cooper, as well as captain Andy Robertson.
Celtic’s Greg Taylor and Brentford’s Aaron Hickey will compete for the left wing-back role in the Liverpool man’s absence. Back-up goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin also dropped out with injury, to be replaced with Rangers team-mate Robby McCrorie, along with Stoke City forward Jacob Brown.
For Ukraine, Everton left-back Vitaliy Mykolenko and Spezia midfielder Viktor Kovalenko are receiving treatment for minor injuries. The visitors were already preparing to be without the influential Oleksandr Zinchenko, the Arsenal left-back/midfielder having picked up a calf injury in training. Club Brugge left-back Eduard Sobol and Dynamo Kyiv midfielder Mykola Shaparenko also miss out through injury.