3 talkers as Scotland secure Nations League promotion with Ukraine stalemate

3 talkers as Scotland secure Nations League promotion with Ukraine stalemate
3 talkers as Scotland secure Nations League promotion with Ukraine stalemate

League A here we go

Scotland are headed for section A of the Nations League. In the next edition of the UEFA competition, Steve Clarke’s side will be among the big boys of European football. To make it even sweeter, tonight’s draw confirmed that Scotland will leapfrog both England and Wales, who were relegated to section B. Perhaps even more importantly though, as winners of the Nations League group, a Euro 2024 play-off spot has been secured. Scotland will be in Pot 2 of the qualification draw for the next European Championships too – which adds to Scotland’s favour even further. It was far from pretty, but the 0-0 draw was a huge result for the Scots.

Ryan Porteous makes international debut

The Hibs star was selected for his Scotland debut from the start in this one. The 23-year-old partnered Jack Hendry as part of a back four for Clarke’s side, with Greg Taylor and Aaron Hickey filling in at full-back. The defence was almost unrecognisable from last week’s game against Ukraine in Glasgow. The Hibees defender showed his qualities in several moments during the stalemate. His ability to read the game, step out of the defence and his pace were clearly evident throughout. Porteous definitely has the attributes to be able to carve out a career in the national team setup going forward. This was a positive, solid start for the Easter Road fans’ favourite.

Getting off lightly from Ukraine frontline

The well-documented selection issues posed to Clarke shone through when the team news was announced an hour before kick-off. There is undoubtedly good depth within the Scotland squad, however, the drop off in quality was still on show at times, particularly during the first-half. Scotland had their moments, but Ukraine were definitely the better team. They passed up a glut of golden opportunities to score, with an open goal, one-on-one and free header all missed. Of course, it wasn’t just poor misses from the Ukrainians, Craig Gordon pulled off some good saves too. Ukraine have some very talented players and they could easily have made Scotland pay. Thankfully it didn’t matter in the end as Scotland held out for what was required.