Willie Miller fears 'hurting' Ukraine backlash could shock Scotland in Nations League showdown

Willie Miller fears 'hurting' Ukraine backlash could shock Scotland in Nations League showdown
Willie Miller fears 'hurting' Ukraine backlash could shock Scotland in Nations League showdown

Willie Miller fears Scotland will face a major backlash from ‘hurting’ Ukraine - but still hopes Steve Clarke’s side can finish their Nations League campaign on a high.

The Scots know anything but a defeat will win them promotion to League A and a guaranteed play-off spot for Euro 2024.

Miller is convinced the burgeoning belief in the team after back-to-back wins can galvanise them for a massive clash with the Ukrainians.

But he reckons the opposition from the war-torn country will be desperate for revenge for last Wednesday’s 3-0 drubbing at Hampden.

Miller said: “The Ukraine game was one where we almost totally dominated throughout the 90 minutes. In the second-half they blew Ukraine away.

“To beat a nation of that kind of quality 3-0, and have another three or four good chances, it was a great night.

“Scotland needed the result against Ireland. Did they get a performance? They got a gritty performance.

“There’s many ways to win a game of football and what it showed us all was this team has got a lot of courage, a lot of belief and good character about them to come from behind and eventually win the game.

“It gives them a real opportunity but it’s going to be difficult.

“Ukraine’s 5-0 victory [against Armenia] sends out a message to us all that that defeat at Hampden hurt them and it’s not going to be easy in Poland.

“But I think we’ve all got to be optimistic this team can actually get the result they need.

“You always want to try to win but away wins are very rare and against this quality of opposition it’s going to be a difficult ask.

“They’ve got themselves in a great position and we can only hope they can take advantage of it and get the result they need.”

Miller believes Saturday’s second-half comeback to seal a 2-1 victory over the Republic of Ireland could prove key in the way Scotland approach their vital closing Nations League match.

The 65-times capped former Aberdeen defender told BBC Scotland: “There’s a lot of belief there with the fans that this is a team that is going somewhere. Steve Clarke’s got every right to say that they are improving - and they’re still improving.

“Are we going to see a performance against Ukraine like the one we watched at Hampden against Ukraine? I doubt it very much. They’ll be hurting at this moment in time because they’ll know they did not perform on the night and we absolutely blew them away in the second-half.

“[For Scotland] to get a gritty win against Ireland, they’ve got this belief and this togetherness, I think, that seems to galvanise them when things are getting difficult.

“That momentum is really important. Turning that result around against the Irish was crucial going into this game because it gives them huge, huge belief they can go over there and get the result they need.”