Scotland side managed to hold firm against Ukraine

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Adepleted Scotland side managed to hold firm against Ukraine to win promotion to the highest tier of the Nations League.

Steve Clarke’s side, decimated by injuries and suspension, 2

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.

Grant Hanley,

Liam Cooper and skipper Andy Robertson had failed

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.

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

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.

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.

knocking a shot over the bar from close range.

In the 70th minute, as the rain continued to drizzle,

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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.

Scotland dig deep to seal PROMOTION to the Pool A of the Nations League after a hard-fought 0-0 draw with Ukraine in Poland… meaning Steve Clarke’s side are now a tier ABOVE bitter rivals England

  • Scotland needed a point to seal promotion to Pool A of the Nations League
  • They were put under significant pressure but held out for a goalless draw 
  • They will now go into Pool A for the next Nations League following this result
  • Meanwhile, Ukraine did not get the win they needed, and remain in Pool B 

Depleted but, crucially,

not defeated, there is no medicine as effective as the antidote of this heroic performance for Steve Clarke and virus-ridden Scotland.

They will now be the sole Home Nation in the top tier

of the next incarnation of the Nations League after emerging from Krakow with the draw they needed.

Clarke’s squad was shorn of several certain starters,

mostly in defence.

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.

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.

Full time: Ukraine 0-0 Scotland They’ve done it!

Scotland have been promoted to the top table of the Nations League after an heroic performance in Krakow.

They rode their luck at times,

and the marvellous Craig Gordon made two or three terrific saves,

but for long periods they defended with calmness and authority. Given how many key players they were missing, it’s an outstanding achievement.

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