The Scots have ‘no shortage of problems’ before Ukraine decides
|Place: Krakow Stadium, Krakow Date: Tuesday, September 27 Start: 19:45 BST|
|Coverage: Listen on 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 “no shortage of problems” ahead of Tuesday’s Nations League decider with Ukraine.
Scott McKenna, Scott McTominay and Kieran Tierney are the latest players to withdraw from the squad, while Che Adams and Lyndon Dykes have been ill.
Striker Adams clarified that he has trained and is ready to play as the Scots look to retain their place at the top of Group B1 with a draw or a win.
“We have some kind of virus on the field,” Clarke said.
“We’re not short of problems and we’re not short of determination to go in and get the job done. It’s just a matter of dealing with what fate is throwing at us now.”
A 3-0 win at home to Ukraine last week and the weekend’s 2-1 defeat of the Republic of Ireland at Hampden have given Scotland a two-point lead at the top of the group ahead of the final game in Poland
Avoiding defeat in Krakow will ensure Clarke’s side win promotion to the Nations League, while also booking a play-off spot for Euro 2024.
“We haven’t done anything yet,” added the Scotland boss. “We want to finish top of the group. We have to play as well as we can and get the necessary result.
“Success for us is just to keep improving. If that leads to promotion to Group A, it’s another step on the way.
“Ukraine knows how good we are. They will be determined to play their best, we are determined to play their best.”
Hearts duo Stephen Kingsley and Barrie McKay were called up to the Scotland squad following the withdrawals of McKenna, McTominay and Tierney.
The Scots were already 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 will travel despite feeling unwell, while Greg Taylor is expected to replace Tierney at left-back, with Josh Doig also available.
St Mirren’s Declan Gallagher, who was called up alongside Doig after the win against Ireland, Kingsley and Hibernian centre-back Ryan Porteous are all capable of deputizing alongside Jack Hendry.
Brentford full-back Aaron Hickey started at right-back on Saturday and came off with a knock but trained on Monday.
Ukraine coach Oleksandr Petrakov says the 23 players he had for Saturday’s 5-0 defeat of Armenia are still available. That group does not include goalkeeper Heorhiy Bushchan or versatile Arsenal player Oleksandr Zinchenko, who also missed last week’s game in Glasgow.
what they said
Ukraine coach Oleksandr Petrakov: “I know what team I will have. We have good players. We miss all the experienced players. We don’t have main lines or reserves, we have a team, a good team and I believe in my team.
“It’s our goal and we all want to get promoted to League A. I’m not really sure how many Ukrainians will be in the game. Our biggest wish is to play at home again.”
Scottish striker Che Adams: “We’ve had two good games this field, we’ve got to finish it well now. We want to show how good we are as a team, it’s just about getting over that finish line.
“Everyone wants to do well for the nation, that’s the most important thing. We’re in a good place at the moment and we want to continue like that. I’ve been here for 18 months and the improvement has been drastic. We’re good enough and smart enough.” smart enough to be consistent.”
- Ukraine have alternated between wins (two) and defeats (two) in their four meetings with Scotland in all competitions, losing 3-0 in Glasgow last Wednesday.
- This is the third meeting between Ukraine and Scotland in 2022 – it is the sixth time that Scotland have faced the same side up to three times in the same calendar year, last coming against Israel in 2020.
- Scotland lost their only previous game away to Ukraine, 2-0 in October 2006. However, the Scots are unbeaten in their last three visits to Poland (W1 D2), since the friendly defeat by 1-0 against the Poles in May 1980.
- Scotland have won four of their last six away games in all competitions (D1 D1), while they have scored eight goals in their previous four (W2 D1 D1), one more than in the previous nine as visitors (7).
- Including the games in Poland, Ukraine have lost just one of their seven home games in the Nations League (W5 D1), losing 2-1 against Germany in October 2020.
- Oleksandr Zubkov was directly involved in three goals in Ukraine’s 5-0 win over Armenia in his last game (one goal, two assists), more than he had in his first 22 international appearances combined before.
- Artem Dovbyk was directly involved in three goals in Ukraine’s 5-0 win over Armenia in his last game (two goals, one assist), although he only played 24 minutes as a substitute. He had scored just one goal (no assists) in his last 240 minutes of Nations League action prior to that.
- John McGinn has taken more shots (19) and created more chances (12) than any other Scotland player in this edition of the Nations League.