Scotland meet Ukraine again at Hampden in a Nations League fixture that is a repeat of the World Cup playoff match that the visiting side won in June.
Despite Ukraine’s success, neither of these sides will be travelling to Qatar 2022, so the focus is firmly on securing top spot in Nations League Group B1. This is a vital fixture. Should the visitors repeat their success from the summer and then beat Armenia in Yerevan on Saturday, it would render the final match between these nations in Krakow next Tuesday irrelevant.
The onus is really on Steve Clarke’s men, then, to avoid defeat and keep their prospect of top spot alive until for as long as possible.
This is the fourth all-time meeting between these nations, with Ukraine presently 2-1 up – but can Scotland level that tally up? Here’s our recommended Bet Builder for the game.
Scotland v Ukraine Bet Builder Tips
Scotland to Win
After June’s disappointment, Scotland will be eager to show a stronger face in this game. And they do have some advantages that suggest they will be able to do so.
Firstly, before that match in June, Ukraine had the opportunity for their squad to get together for several weeks to train and play as a unit because of the war in their homeland. It meant they looked incredibly well-oiled compared to their hosts. They were also fired up with adrenaline, which seemed to have run out by the time they played Wales a few days later.
Domestic action is back for the visiting side, albeit it is being played in a trying situation, which cannot be conducive to the players coming into this encounter at their peak level.
Indeed, Scotland rarely lose at home. Since the beginning of the 2021-22 season, they have suffered only one defeat at Hampden in six games and have won four of five competitive meetings. Of course, there will be a thirst for revenge in the home camp before this game.
Ukraine have tended to travel well, but this is their first journey since the reality of their situation back home really set in. It will be a unique test for the guests.
Both Teams to Score
Given the context of the match, it is likely that both teams will find the net. As explained above, this could be perhaps the defining promotion tussle in this Nations League pool, and as such neither side will want to lose it. While this could make for a cautious start to the game, it is likely to see things open up once a goal is scored.
And it is likely that one will come. Scotland are depleted defensively, with first picks Grant Hanley and Andrew Robertson both missing, and this is not the greatest area of their side in any case. Indeed, Scotland have kept only one clean sheet in their six fixtures in 2022. Equally, though, the Scots have a capable side offensively and have only been shut out once in that same timeframe.
Similarly, it would be surprising if Ukraine were unable to find the net. They looked a level above Scotland technically when the sides met in June, and even if Zinchenko is missing, they still have plenty of capable players to test the home rearguard. Most notably Shakhtar Donetsk’s Mykhailo Mudryk, whose performances in Europe have started to turn the heads of some of Europe’s biggest club sides. The youngster has a bright future ahead of him.
With two clean sheets in five matches in 2022 – one of which was against Armenia – they are not a side that came be leant upon to secure a shutout.
John McGinn to have 1+ Shot on Target
There is little doubt that John McGinn has been Scotland’s offensive talisman under Steve Clarke, and though the Aston Villa man may not be at his best at club level, he always seems to show up well on international duty.
McGinn has scored 13 goals in his 48 caps for Scotland and boasts a strike rate higher than anyone else in the squad with the exception of QPR striker Lydon Dykes, who is likely to start on the bench, with Che Adams liable to be first pick.
Crucially, he is liable to be given a forward-thinking role, as he often is with Scotland. This could be in direct support to Adams in attack, or it could be as a box-to-box midfielder.
McGinn has managed a shot on target in four of Scotland’s last five international games and six of their last eight competitive matches. One of the odd games out was the previous encounter against Ukraine, but with Oleksandr Zinchenko missing for the guests, Scotland would hope to have more control over the midfield, allowing the Aston Villa man to play his natural game.
It is also worth pointing out that he typically plays 90 minutes for Scotland, and though he did not in his last two internationals, these fixtures came at the end of a four-game burst in June.
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Scotland predicted XI (3-4-3): Gordon; Hendry, Hanley, McKenna; Patterson, McGinn, McGregor, Tierney; Fraser, Adams, Christie
Ukraine predicted XI (4-3-3): Lunin; Karavayev, Zabarnyi, Matviyenko, Mykolenko; Kovalenko, Sydorchuk, Malinovskyi; Yarmolenko, Yaremchuk, Mudryk
* All odds displayed correct at the time of publishing *
How to watch Scotland v Ukraine in the Nations League?
📅 When is Scotland v Ukraine? / Wednesday, 21st September 2022, 7:45PM
🏟 Where is Scotland v Ukraine? / Hampden Park (Glasgow)
📺 What TV channel is Scotland v Ukraine on? / ITV 4
🟨 …And who is the referee for Scotland v Ukraine? / M. Mariani 🇮🇹