Scotland earn Nations League promotion after resolute draw with Ukraine

ukraine vs scotland live nations league score latest krakow - Rafal Oleksiewicz/PA Wire
ukraine vs scotland live nations league score latest krakow - Rafal Oleksiewicz/PA Wire
  • Scotland win Uefa Nations League B group 1

  • Draw with Ukraine earns them promotion to League A just as England are relegated

  • Gordon magnificent in goal

  • Porteous shines on debut

Stricken Scotland dug deep into their reserves in more ways than one for a goalless draw with Ukraine to win their Nations League group and gain promotion to League A.

Steve Clarke's side, depleted by injuries and suspension, needed only a point to finish top of Group B1 and they had to ride their luck at times before celebrating a massive result in the Cracovia Stadium.

Ukraine, beaten 3-0 at Hampden Park last week, missed two great chances in particular in the goalless first half and keeper Craig Gordon looked in unbeatable form.

Scotland finished two points clear of Oleksandr Petrakov's side at the top of Group B1 and aside from promotion to the top tier, a place among the second seeds for the European Championship qualifiers and a play-off spot for that competition if the normal qualification campaign does not go to plan was also secured.

Clarke's squad was shorn of several certain starters, mostly in defence.

Grant Hanley, Liam Cooper and skipper Andy Robertson had failed to make the squad for the triple-header due to injury and they were joined on the sidelines by, among others, Kieran Tierney, Nathan Patterson, Scott McKenna and Scott McTominay, the latter suspended, while a virus had also affected the camp.

In the event, there were six changes from the weekend's win over the Republic of Ireland with 23-year-old Hibernian defender Ryan Porteous pitched in for his debut and Kenny McLean, Greg Taylor, Ryan Jack, Ryan Fraser and Che Adams back in the side.

Ryan Porteous of Scotland is challenged by Mykhaylo Mudryk  - Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images
Ryan Porteous of Scotland is challenged by Mykhaylo Mudryk - Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images

The match was played in Poland due to Russia's ongoing war on Ukraine and officially there were 3,000 Tartan Army inside the 15,000-capacity stadium making plenty of noise as the Scots started purposefully.

In the second minute Ukraine keeper Andriy Lunin saved Adams' strike down at his right-hand post for a corner which was defended.

Ukraine settled and should have gone ahead in the seventh minute when speedy winger Mykhailo Mudryk picked out unmarked captain Andriy Yarmolenko at the back post but he volleyed high over the bar with only Gordon to beat.

There was another let-off for the Scots in the 22nd minute when Artem Dovbyk ran on to Yarmolenko's wonderful pass and past Porteous but the veteran Hearts keeper was equal to the shot.

There was drama minutes later when Greek referee Tasos Sidiropoulos awarded Scotland a penalty for a Taras Stepanenko handball in the box from a Fraser shot but ruled it out after a VAR check.

Scotland's goalkeeper Craig Gordon holds the ball during the UEFA Nations League Group 1 football match between Ukraine and Scotland in Krakow - JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Scotland's goalkeeper Craig Gordon holds the ball during the UEFA Nations League Group 1 football match between Ukraine and Scotland in Krakow - JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

In the 31st minute Jack fired over the bar from 16 yards after the Blue and Yellow struggled with another corner, before the unmarked Stepanenko headed over at the other end from a Ukraine corner.

Gordon had two good saves early in the second half, from Mudryk and Danylo Ihnatenko.

Ukraine continued to be foiled by the offside flag but they looked the more likely to make the breakthrough with the sliding Illia Zabarnyi knocking a shot over the bar from close range.

In the 70th minute, as the rain continued to drizzle, Stuart Armstrong, Ryan Christie and Stephen Kingsley came on for Taylor, Fraser and Jack before Lyndon Dykes replaced Adams.

Scotland had to repel increasing pressure from Ukraine - Stepanenko fired a drive wide - and they battled with everything they had through four minutes of added time to keep the point which has so many positive ramifications.

Match details

Scotland  Gordon; Hickey (Ralston, 90), Porteous, Hendry, Taylor (Kingsley, 72) ; McGinn, Jack (Armstrong, 72), McGregor, McLean, Fraser (Christie, 72); Adams (Dykes, 78). Booked Hickey, Dykes.

Ukraine Lunin; Zabarnyl, Stepanenko, Matviyenko; Tymchyk, Ihnatenko, Malinovskyi (Pikhalyonok 88), Mykolenko; Yarmolenko, Dovbyk (Yaremchuk, 75), Mudryk (Tysgankov, 75). Booked Malinovskyi, Ihnatenko, Yarmolenko, Mudryk.

Referee Anastasios Sidiropoulos (Greece)

Ukraine 0 Scotland 0 as it happened

09:54 PM

And here's the SNP leader in the House of Commons

09:49 PM

Scotland were exceptional

Ryan Porteous on debut was immense, Aaron Hickey is a proper talent and only playing because another hugely promising right-back, Nathan Patterson, is injured. I thought Craig Gordon was terrific and McGregor and Jack a very solid central midfield pairing. They play to their strengths, spring the offside trap like clockwork and run their socks off.

09:47 PM

A time to praise

09:42 PM

Here's how they finished

Table - Uefa
Table - Uefa

09:38 PM

Full time: Ukraine 0 Scotland 0

Scotland have won the group, go into Nations League A, Euro 2024 pot two for the draw and a guaranteed place in the play-offs for Euro 2024 should they not qualify through the group!

Two wins and a draw in six days send them up!

09:36 PM

90+3 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0                                                 

Porteous gallops out of defence, breaking the lines as Ukraine are camped around the Scotland box but his pass out to the left bobbles out.

09:34 PM

90+2 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0                                               

Stepanenko uses Christie as a ladder but still heads wide at the back post.

09:34 PM

90 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0                                               

Porteous makes a wonderful sliding tackle, hooking the ball away from the substitute Zubkov as he cocked his knee back to shoot. Very good block from Hendry before that. Corner for Ukraine. Four minutes of stoppage time to come.

09:32 PM

89 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0                                             

Scotland are up by the left corner flag for a spell, earning a throw but when they lose possession Ukraine throw men forward. Christie snaps into a tackle to repel their thrust down the right. But still they come.

09:30 PM

88 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0                                             

Kingsley wins the ball deep on the left, plays a give and go and feeds it up to Dykes who buys a foul on halfway.

09:29 PM

87 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0                                           

Porteous again steps up to intercept and then plays a cool pass down the left, 30 yards and admirably precise given how hard he's worked, into Dykes' path who gets bogged down but eats up another chunk of the remaining minutes.

09:27 PM

85 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0                                           

Dykes is booked for cuffing Matviyenko round the neck as Scotland try to run down the clock high up the right.

09:25 PM

83 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0                                         

Porteous, who has been accomplished on debut, makes a confident header back to the keeper.

09:23 PM

81 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0                                         

Lyndon Dykes comes on for Che 'Big Shift' Adams.

09:23 PM

79 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0                                       

Scotland are tiring and making it easier for Ukraine to come on to them. Some 'After you, Claud' defending allows them in down their left but the man picked out with the cross is a centre-back, Stepanenko, who drags his left-foot strike wide as the Scots defence was stranded on its heels.

09:21 PM

77 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0                                       

Ukraine corner on the left, Scotland push them all the way back to Lunin. Ukraine build again, exploit their right wing and the left of Scotland;s defence. Yarmolenko has acres but sends his cross straight at McGregor who shifts it upfield.

09:19 PM

75 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0                                     

Greg Taylor was the third Scotland player to go off. Kingsley is playing on the left, very narrow, in a four not a five. Sorry, I was wrong.

09:18 PM

74 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0                                     

Excellent tackle from Porteous stops Yarmolenko. Scotland have switched to a back five.

Ukraine send on Tsygankov for Mudryk.

09:16 PM

72 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0                                   

Triple Scotland substitution: Christie, Kingsley and Armstrong replace Jack, Fraser and AN Other. Will get back to you on that.                            

09:15 PM

71 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0                                   

Scotland appeal for a penalty from the corner when the defensive header strikes Ihnatenko's hand which was down by his thigh and tucked in. Ukraine break and Dovbyk, offside but allowed to play on for now, breaks down the right but can't get past Gordon. Once the keeper catches his effort, up goes the flag and Hendry and Porteous receive the laurels they deserve for catching him once again.

09:12 PM

68 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0                                 

The corner comes to naught. Fraser, Jack, McGinn combine down the inside-right to pick out McGregor whose left-foot drive is deflected over for a corner.

09:10 PM

66 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0                                 

Hickey has been Scotland's man of the match so far and drives into the box, sent down the line by Fraser's pass after strong work from Adams and Jack. He heads for the byline but can't cross before Ihnatenko slides in to knock the ball out.

09:07 PM

64 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0                               

Free-kick for Ukraine on the left, parallel with the 18-yard line. Malinovskyi takes with his left, bending it over with his left. It evades all the lunges and attempted headers in the middle but reaches the sliding Zabarnyi, six yards out but he hooks his volley wide.

09:05 PM

62 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0                               

Dovbyk is played down the inside-left channel and through on goal. Again Gordon saves in a one-on-one. Again Dovbyk is belatedly flagged offside. Dovbyk just cannot get his head round the offside trap and hold his run a second longer than his instinct dictates. Still, he only needs to get in once legitimately ...

09:03 PM

60 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0                             

McGregor misjudges a backward header, giving it to Dovbyk but is all over the big centre-forward like a rash, not giving him a moment's piece and buys a free-kick with his relentless hounding, nipping the ball away and then going over when pushed.

09:01 PM

58 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0                             

Hickey, who fell heavily on his shoulder and may, according to co-commentator Michael Stewart, have partially popped his shoulder out of the socket, seems to be OK.

08:59 PM

56 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0                           

Scotland can't make the ball stick upfield and that keeps inviting Ukraine on to them. McGregor tries a different tack, acting as a hub and trying to hold possession, making Ukraine press them and give Adams some relief from running the channels and being buffeted by Matviyenko.

08:57 PM

54 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0                           

Porteous was definitely held by Mudryk on the restart after Gordon had saved his shot. He has already been booked. Porteous reminds the referee of that but he takes no action.

Twice in a minute Hendry and his back-four colleagues enmesh Yarmolenko and then Dovbyk in their offside trap.

08:55 PM

52 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0                         

McGregor shoots but too straight at Lunin. Ukraine break. Ihnatenko shoots and the ball takes a tiny deflection that adds some fade but Gordon is sharp enough to adjust and cling on low to his right.

08:53 PM

50 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0                         

Mudryk, the supreme talent on the pitch, speeds down the left, shifts it on to his right and bends a dipping shot towards the bottom right. Gordon dives across and tips it away with the tips of his index and middle fingers. Great save.  

08:50 PM

48 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0                       

But Scotland pile into the press, win it back and McGinn slips a pass inside to Taylor who takes a touch, settles himself for the shot but slips on connection from 25 yards and blazes over.

08:49 PM

46  min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0                       

Richard Dunne, back in the studio, thinks Scotland should maintain a 4-5-1 shape and just see the game out for a draw that will be good enough. It will be fraught if they do that for the entire 45 minutes, though. No changes. McGinn gets the angle wrong when trying to play Fraser in down the right whitewash. Mykolenko picks it off.

08:35 PM

Half-time: Ukraine 0 Scotland 0

A point is good enough for Scotland to earn promotion. They had some good chances in the first 20 minutes, made by their tenacity in the press and some high-tempo probing. But Ukraine have grown into the match and look the more threatening now, kept at bay by a combination of a well-drilled back four, an offside trap and poor finishing.  Back in a few minutes!

08:33 PM

45+2 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0                     

The rain is now thickening and consequently the ball is zipping on, passes running away from targets.

08:32 PM

45+1 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0                     

Ukraine have been the better side in the last 10 minutes, using their wing-backs to overload with the wide forwards but Hickey has been very diligent in his positioning, Taylor less so but he's getting less help from his central midfielder.

08:30 PM

45 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0                   

Tymchyk now raids down the right after Yarmolenko takes Taylor away on an inside channel run. The overlapping full-back acrs a cross to the far post that comes off the left-back and floats past the far post. The referee wrongly awards a goal-kick. Taylor needs more help from McLean.

08:28 PM

43 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0                   

Stepanenko flashes a half-volley from 20 yards, meeting Yarmoklenko's pass, wide of the right post ... but only a few inches ahead of Dovbyk when it blazed through the penalty area. Had he been able to telescope out his right leg he might have diverted it back on goal and given Gordon little chance to recover.

08:27 PM

41 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0                 

Ukraine get in down their left again with Mykolenko storming down the wing and looking for Malinovskyi's near-post run. He stands the cross up for the volley but he takes it on with his left and cant't warp his instep around it sufficiently to hook it in target.

08:25 PM

40 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0                 

Dovbyk, for once, gets the better of Hendry and Hickey but then picks out McGregor with his cross, passes it straight to him.

08:24 PM

38 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0               

Hendry catches Dovbyk offside with a clever step-up. Steve Clarke is very influenced by Arrigo Sacchi.

Krakow  - JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images
Krakow - JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images

08:21 PM

36 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0               

From the corner Stepanenko steals in unmarked round the back but blooters his header wide.

08:21 PM

35 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0             

Ukraine break the press down the right with Yarmolenko, Tymchyk and Malinovskyi working a neat triangle. Taylor, though, manages to tie Malinovskyi up for a couple of seconds which gives defenders the time to flood back and make the penalty box too congested to find a route to goal.

08:19 PM

33 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0             

This corner is an outswinger from the left. McLean goes in to challenge, Hendry can't untangle his feet when it skims across the six-yard box but there's Jack with some space about 10 yards out but he leans back and launches  a left-foot curler over the bar aiming for the top left.

08:17 PM

31 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0           

McGinn swings the corner beyond the back post to Porteous who meets it from a tight angle and it hits Yarmolenko and out for another corner.

08:16 PM

30 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0           

Scotland are awarded a corner when Adams is played down to the byline by Hickey's cute left-foot pass, Adams looked offside but the flag wasn't raised.

08:14 PM

28 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0         

Bad foul on Hickey, out of control, over the ball but unpenalised by the referee. Hickey seems to be OK. He's been a livewire tonight.

08:13 PM

25 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0         

Scotland are awarded a penalty for Stepanenko's 'hand ball' but it looked like a ludicrous decision as (a) the cross was from point-blank range and (b) it hit him in the face. VAR tells the referee to go and have a look on the secreen and he needs only a glance to overrule himself.

08:10 PM

23 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0       

A  minute after Dovbyk makes a hash of a one on one, even though he knew he was offside, Yarmolenko plays the centre-forward in down the inside-right with a handsome pass with the outside of his boot. Dovbyk is in between Porteous and Taylor having timed his run to perfection. He takes it in his stride, advances into the box and opens his body to shoot with his left. Gordon stays upright longer than the striker would like and then dives to his right to smother the shot.

08:06 PM

20 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0       

Scotland cannily surround the keeper and stop Lunin getting a decent, running punch on the cross from the free-kick. Scotland attack back up the right but this time McGregor is deemed to have fouled Ihnatenko. ot sure that he did but he doesn't make a fuss about it so eh might well have.

08:04 PM

18 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0     

McGinn floats the free-kick with his left beyond the back post and out for a goal-kick. Brentford look to have a bargain in Hickey whose powerful run up the right is only stopped by another foul out by the right corner flag.

08:03 PM

15 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0     

McGregor and Jack, in a triumph for ecumenism, are combining well in defensive midfield. Scotland pick up a pair of free-kicks with their probing unsettling Ukraine. Malinovskyi goes in late on Fraser who was about to accelerate away from him and then Mudryk, who goes in the book, for barging over Hickey.

 Scotland fans show their support prior to the UEFA Nations League League B Group 1 match between Ukraine and Scotland at Stadion im Jozefa Pilsudskiego on September 27, 2022 in Krakow - Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images
Scotland fans show their support prior to the UEFA Nations League League B Group 1 match between Ukraine and Scotland at Stadion im Jozefa Pilsudskiego on September 27, 2022 in Krakow - Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images

07:59 PM

13 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0   

Just as I pressed send on that post Mudryk whipped the ball off Hickey's toe and bombed forward. He passed inside to Malinovskyi who tried to send Dovbyk bullocking down the middle but Porteous was strong enough to hold him up and work the ball away.

07:57 PM

11 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0   

Couple of confident interceptions from Porteous and Scotland are trying to stymie Mudryk by pushing Hickey on to him and the Brentford full-back is beginning to pin him back.

07:55 PM

9 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0 

Yarmolenmko blazes a volley over with his left foot from the right of the six-yard box, a couple of yards beyond the back post. It was brilliantly set up by Dovbyk lacing a pas down the inside left for Mudryk who hared into the box, the ball under his immaculate control before picking out his captain with a perfect chipped cross. It was a straightforward chance for such a good finisher with Gordon scrambling back from the near post leaving half the goal undefended.

07:53 PM

7 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0 

Hickey gets back well to cover as Mykolenko tried to nip the ball away and move it Mudryk. Mykolenko ends up fouling him, leaving his studs in his ankle but escapes without a card despite it being his second bad tackle.

07:51 PM

5 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0

The corner is well defended and Ukraine clear their lines. Adams continues to press from the front.

07:50 PM

3 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0

Fine save from Lunin after Adams and Fraser press the life out of Tymchyk and Zabarnyi, ripping back possession deep on the left. Adams then plays a give and go with McGinn and shoots from 16 yards. Luni gets down low to his right to turn the vicious shot on to the woodwork and behind.

07:47 PM

1 min Ukraine 0 Scotland 0

Scotland, attacking from left to right, earn a free-kick within 40 seconds down their right after neat build-up play when Mykolenko goes in too hard. McGinn takes it with his left and hits the first man.

07:44 PM

McGinn and Yarmolenko exchange pennants

Lots of Ukraine flags festooned around three sides of the Stadium and St Andrew's crosses behind one goal. Ukraine will play in all royal blue with yellow trim, Scotland in all white with navy trim.

07:42 PM

The teams are out

And we'll have the national anthems. Not been much to report from the televised build-up as Premier Sports was trying to cover this match, Ireland's against Armenia and Northern Ireland v Greece simultaneously.

07:29 PM

Che Adams talks

Having overcome the virus that struck the squad over the weekend:

We have had a good two games in this campaign, we just have to end it well and get over the line. In the summer, we let them off the hook really. We made up for it in the game the other night at home.

It wasn't good enough in the summer and it was up to us to put it right at Hampden and we surely did that. It is going to be another tough one but one we are looking forward to it, the boys are raring to go and hopefully we can get it over the line.

I feel great, feeling better.  It is one of those ones where we have to get through it and put in a massive performance tomorrow.  I am tough, I can play. If it was any worse then maybe I couldn't but I'm fit and ready to go for tomorrow.

07:13 PM

James McFadden and Kenny Miller on debutant Porteous

It's a massive game, a huge occasion but we say this all the time, Steve Clarke picks a player and we say, 'I'm not sure.' But he has earned the right to pick him. He's very mobile and quick, a very good young Scottish player. He's been playing well for his club for a number of years. He has played in back threes and back fours. He has got his opportunity, a chance to stake a claim for a regular starting spot.

06:30 PM

Ukraine's starting XI

Lunin; Zabarnyl, Stepanenko, Matviyenko; Tymchyk, Ihnatenko, Malinovskyi, Mykolenko; Yarmolenko, Dovbyk, Mudryk.

06:25 PM

Scotland's substitutes

Kelly, McCrorie, Gallagher, Kingsley, Ralston, Doig, McKay, Gilmour, Armstrong, Christie, Dykes.

06:22 PM

Scotland's starting XI

Gordon; Hickey, Porteous, Hendry, Taylor;  Jack, McGinn, McGregor, McLean; Adams, Fraser.

05:08 PM

Good evening

Scotland's players and supporters would be the first to tell you that promotion from Uefa Nations League B to League A, which they will secure should they avoid defeat against Ukraine in Krakow tonight, is no solace for their failure to qualify for the Qatar World Cup. But it is an achievement worthy of merit. Despite its numerous detractors, the Nations League is here to stay. Uefa likes it, the national associations like it and the head coaches like it because it gives meaning and structure where once there were only friendlies.

Now that the international calendar has been harmonised and those fortnight hiatuses for domestic football have been written in ink, there will be no going back to arranging ad hoc matches with whoever you can pay to come to town for matches in which you can chuck on six subs and write off anything adverse that happens as utterly inconsequential.

Should Scotland go up, not only will it potentially afford them the opportunity of playing for a trophy and valuable experience of finals play if they make it through to the biennial finals tournaments, it allows them to move on up from the familiar opponents in the shallow international pool to which they've been consigned for years, to heavyweights such as Portugal or Holland or France or Italy or Spain or Germany or Croatia, the kind of company among whom the people have always felt the national team belonged. Hosting Ukraine brought 42,000 to Hampden; Ireland almost 49,000. Opposition of League A calibre will attract the couple more thousand to sell the ground out, boosting gate revenue and potentially attracting more lucrative broadcasting contracts. That's nothing to scorn, though the temptation to swank it above the relegated England is nothing to be sniffed at either.

Tonight Steve Clarke will have to change the winning formula that earned them back-to-back victories. Scott McTominay, a round peg in a round hole back in central midfield after the reinstatement of a back four, is suspended, while Kieran Tierney and Scott McKenna are injured. Kenny McLean should deputise for McTominay while Celtic's Greg Taylor, enjoying the form of his life, should slot in at left-back and Hibs' Ryan Porteous at centre-half.

For Ukraine, Serhii Sydorchuk is suspended, but any or all of Taras Stepanenko, Oleksandr Pikhalyonok, Mykola Matviyenko, Oleksandr Karavaev, Ruslan Malinovskyi, Andriy Yarmolenko, Mykhaylo Mudryk and Artem Dovbyk, who all featured in Glasgow but were rested against Armenia, could come back in.

05:08 PM

Good evening

Scotland's players and supporters would be the first to tell you that promotion from Uefa Nations League B to League A, which they will secure should they avoid defeat against Ukraine in Krakow tonight, is no solace for their failure to qualify for the Qatar World Cup. But it is an achievement worthy of merit. Despite its numerous detractors, the Nations League is here to stay. Uefa likes it, the national associations like it and the head coaches like it because it gives meaning and structure where once there were only friendlies.

Now that the international calendar has been harmonised and those fortnight hiatuses for domestic football have been written in ink, there will be no going back to arranging ad hoc matches with whoever you can pay to come to town for matches in which you can chuck on six subs and write off anything adverse that happens as utterly inconsequential.

Should Scotland go up, not only will it potentially afford them the opportunity of playing for a trophy and valuable experience of finals play if they make it through to the biennial finals tournaments, it allows them to move on up from the familiar opponents in the shallow international pool to which they've been consigned for years, to heavyweights such as Portugal or Holland or France or Italy or Spain or Germany or Croatia, the kind of company among whom the people have always felt the national team belonged. Hosting Ukraine brought 42,000 to Hampden; Ireland almost 49,000. Opposition of League A calibre will attract the couple more thousand to sell the ground out, boosting gate revenue and potentially attracting more lucrative broadcasting contracts. That's nothing to scorn, though the temptation to swank it above the relegated England is nothing to be sniffed at either.

Tonight Steve Clarke will have to change the winning formula that earned them back-to-back victories. Scott McTominay, a round peg in a round hole back in central midfield after the reinstatement of a back four, is suspended, while Kieran Tierney and Scott McKenna are injured. Kenny McLean should deputise for McTominay while Celtic's Greg Taylor, enjoying the form of his life, should slot in at left-back and Hibs' Ryan Porteous at centre-half.

For Ukraine, Serhii Sydorchuk is suspended, but any or all of Taras Stepanenko, Oleksandr Pikhalyonok, Mykola Matviyenko, Oleksandr Karavaev, Ruslan Malinovskyi, Andriy Yarmolenko, Mykhaylo Mudryk and Artem Dovbyk, who all featured in Glasgow but were rested against Armenia, could come back in.