Scotland win a point which is enough for top spot and a play-off place in Euro2024 and a seeded place in League A (I’m not really sure what that means, but if you’re in it, you want to win it).
I didn’t recognised many of the starting eleven. I wondered who Ryan Porteous was, but then I recognised him from the Hib’s team. Similarly, a triple substitution with fifteen minutes remaining brought on Stephen Kingsley, the Heart’s player. His face was not familiar. Ryan Christie and Stuart Armstrong began against the Republic of Ireland and came on as was late substitute, with Anthony Raltson appearing in the last five minutes.
A late penalty claim in added time was all Ukraine had to offer in the second-half. Scotland sat in and they didn’t look like scoring. The first-half was more open.
Chances at both ends in the first-half, but no goals. Midway through the first-half Scotland got awarded a penalty. But it was overturned by VAR. It was never a penalty.
Scotland started the better of the two teams and could have scored in the first five minutes. Che Adams getting his shot away from inside the box. Andriy Lunin made a smart save.
Ten minutes in and Aaron Hickey was outpaced by Mykhaylo Mudryk. He got to the touchline and fired a ball to the back post. Craig Gordon stranded at the front post. Andriy Yarmalenko from inside the six-yard box somehow sent the ball over the bar. Absolute sitter. The chance of the match
Tymchyk, two minutes later, ran into the box and Craig Gordon made a good save, but he was well offside.
Artem Dovby sprung the offside trap and Gordon anticipated what way he was going to shoot and made a great save as Ukraine began to dominate possession.
Then we had that penalty shout that wasn’t a penalty. Scotland had a lot of joy from corners and perhaps the best chance also came from a dead ball that found its way to the back post. Ryan Jack snatched at it with the whole goal open. A good chance squandered.
Scotland, like Jack, were back on their heels for the remainder of the half. Five minutes later, Taras Stepanenko is allowed a free header inside the six-yard box from a Ukraine corner but heads over the bar. Let off. He had a similar header with five minutes remaining in the second-half, but was no closer to scoring.
Coming up to half-time Taras Stepanenko tried a shot from the edge of the box, but it was nearer the corner flag than the goal. But a cross which came off Greg Taylor had Gordon scrambling and clawing air at the back post.
The match was summed up by Calum McGregor, midway through the second-half trying to head the ball back to his keeper. Making a mess of it. But also getting in front of Artem Dovbyk with his loose pass and not giving away a corner. But winning a free-kick. Scotland after being outclassed by Urkaine at Hampden in the World-Cup playoffs, did a job on them here. And at Hampden. That’s why there were top of the group. Steve Clarke is either hero or villain. He’s hero—for now—and used his makeshift squad to its fullest capacity. No superstars. Honest pros doing a shift.