Scots ‘not short of problems’ ahead of Ukraine decision

Scots 'not short of problems' ahead of Ukraine decision
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Scottish player training
The Scottish players trained in Edinburgh on Monday before traveling to Poland
Venue: Cracovia Stadium, Krakow Date: Tuesday, September 27th Kicking off: 19:45 CET
Cover: Listen to BBC Radio Scotland Extra/DAB/810MW, Live Text Commentary on the BBC Sport website and app, Highlights on BBC One Scotland from 10:45pm

Scotland manager Steve Clarke says he has “not a few problems” ahead of Tuesday’s Nations League decision against Ukraine.

Scott McKenna, Scott McTominay and Kieran Tierney are the latest players to retire from the roster while Che Adams and Lyndon Dykes were ill.

Striker Adams made it clear he has been training and is ready to play as Scotland look to defend their place at the top of Group B1 with a draw or win.

“We’ve got some kind of virus at camp,” Clarke said.

“We’re not short of problems, nor lack of determination to go out there and get the job done.

Last week’s 3-0 home win over Ukraine and the weekend’s 2-1 defeat by the Republic of Ireland in Hampden have put Scotland two points clear ahead of their final game in Poland.

Avoiding defeat in Kraków will secure Clarke’s side promotion to the Nations League while also booking a play-off spot for Euro 2024.

“We haven’t done anything yet,” added the Scotland coach. “We want to win our group. We have to play as well as we can and get the required result.

“The achievement for us is just to keep improving. If that means promotion to Group A then that’s another step on the way.”

“Ukraine knows how good we are. They will be determined to do their best, we will be determined to do our best.”

Team News

Hearts duo Stephen Kingsley and Barrie McKay have been called up to the Scotland squad following the withdrawal of McKenna, McTominay and Tierney.

Scotland have already been without captain and defender Andy Robertson, goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin, defenders Nathan Patterson and Grant Hanley, midfielder David Turnbull and forwards Jacob Brown and Ross Stewart.

Adams and Dykes are set to travel despite being unwell, while Greg Taylor is expected to replace Tierney at left-back, with Josh Doig also available.

St Mirren’s Declan Gallagher, called up with Doig after the win against Ireland, Kingsley and Hibernian centre-back Ryan Porteous can all be substituted alongside Jack Hendry.

Brentford full-back Aaron Hickey started at right-back on Saturday and got away in one fell swoop but practiced on Monday.

Ukraine coach Oleksandr Petrakov says the 23 players he had in Saturday’s 5-0 win against Armenia are still available. That group doesn’t include goalkeeper Heorhiy Bushchan or versatile Arsenal man Oleksandr Zinchenko, who also missed last week’s game in Glasgow.

what they said

Ukraine coach Oleksandr Petrakov: “I know what team I’m going to have. We have good players. We’re missing all the experienced players. We don’t have any main or reserve line-ups – we have a team, a good team and I believe in my team.”

“That’s our goal and we all want to get promoted to the A-League. I’m not sure how many Ukrainians will be at the game. Our biggest wish is to play home games again.”

Scotland striker Che Adams: “We had two good games in this camp, we have to finish it well now. We want to show how good we are as a team, it’s all about crossing that finish line.

“Everyone wants to do good for the nation, that’s the most important thing. We’re in a good place right now and we want to keep it that way. I’ve been here for 18 months and the improvement has been dramatic. We’re good enough and smart enough to be consistent.”

Match Statistics

  • Ukraine have gone from winning (two) to losing (two) in their four meetings with Scotland in all competitions, losing 3-0 in Glasgow last Wednesday.
  • This is the third clash between Ukraine and Scotland in 2022 – it is the sixth time Scotland have played the same team three times in the same calendar year, most recently against Israel in 2020.
  • Scotland lost their only away game against Ukraine in October 2006, 0-2. However, since losing 1-0 in a friendly against Poland in May 1980, Scotland have been unbeaten in their last three games in Poland (1-2, 2).
  • Scotland have won four of their last six away games in all competitions (U1 U1), while they have scored eight goals in the previous four (U2 U1 U1 U1), one more than in their previous nine away games (7).
  • Including matches in Poland, Ukraine have lost just one of their seven home Nations League (S5 U1) games, losing 2-1 to Germany in October 2020.
  • Oleksandr Zubkov was directly involved in three goals (one goal, two assists) in Ukraine’s 5-0 win against Armenia in the last game, more than in his first 22 internationals combined.
  • Artem Dovbyk was directly involved in three goals (two goals, one assist) in Ukraine’s 5-0 win against Armenia in the last game, despite only appearing as a 24-minute substitute. He had previously scored just one goal (without assists) in his final 240 minutes in the Nations League.
  • John McGinn has found more shots (19) and created more chances (12) than any other Scottish player in this edition of the Nations League.

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