Scotland vs Ukraine: Steve Clarke challenges players to impress in Nations League against opponents who ended World Cup dream | Soccer News

Steve Clarke expects Scotland to improve against Ukraine in the Nations League on Wednesday night, three months after the same opponents ended his side’s World Cup hopes.

A 3-1 loss in the play-off semi-final was followed by a loss to the Republic of Ireland in the Nations League.

But two comfortable wins over Armenia and results in other games left Scotland with plenty to play for before another bumpy programme.

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Scotland coach Steve Clarke expects his side to show what they are capable of against Ukraine in the Nations League on Wednesday night.

And Clarke is certain his players will put in a better performance against Ukraine this time around in front of a sold-out crowd at Hampden Park.

“I think Scottish fans will know now that Ukraine are a good team,” he said.

“I’m sure they’ll play at the same level, but what I expect from our team is that we get back to the level we can be – then we’ll see what the result will be.

“I think they knew what to expect this summer, we just haven’t reached our levels. Hopefully this time we will.

“I just felt that in the summer we stalled a bit and we want to get that momentum going again and hopefully that starts on Wednesday.”

Ukraine's Roman Yaremchuk scores his side's second goal during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Semi-Final at Hampden Park, Glasgow.
Scotland lost to Ukraine in World Cup play-offs

Scotland next face Ireland at the National Stadium on Saturday night before a trip to Poland to face Ukraine again the following Tuesday, and Clarke knows the results could significantly impact the chances of making the next finals. of the European Championship.

“The Nations League is important, as we know, because we qualified for Euro 2020 through the Nations League,” he said.

“Also, if we have a good week, we could be seeded for the draw in October for Euro 2024, so it’s an important competition for us.”

Rangers goalkeeper Robby McCrorie has been drafted into the squad after fellow Ibrox stopper Jon McLaughlin withdrew.

Forward Jacob Brown and defender Grant Hanley also left the team before the triple header.

Stoke striker Jacob Brown is one of three Scottish forfeits
Stoke striker Jacob Brown is one of three Scottish forfeits

McCrorie has made just two first-team appearances for Rangers and is yet to earn his first cap after being last called up to the squad while on loan at Livingston two years ago.

Clarke, however, insists he has earned his spot.

“He’s a good goalkeeper. I know he’s not in an ideal situation where he doesn’t get playing time, but I know he works with good goalkeepers at Rangers.” he declared.

“Even if he doesn’t get the matches, he is improving as a goalkeeper.

Robby McCrorie's first Scotland call-up was in 2020
Robby McCrorie’s first Scotland call-up was in 2020

“Even from the first time I called him when he was at Livingston, I can see that when he comes to the team he has improved.

“We’re not blessed with a lot of young options in this area. Obviously Robby is the one I like and we’ll try to keep him involved as much as possible.”

The Scottish manager has no plans to call anyone else into the squad ahead of Wednesday’s Nations League game but could make additions for the final two fixtures.

“Maybe after Wednesday’s game we will have to bring players into the squad, but we will go game by game.”

The full Scottish team

Guardians: Craig Gordon (Hearts), Liam Kelly (Motherwell), Robby McCrorie (Rangers).

Defenders: Jack Hendry (Cremonese), Aaron Hickey (Brentford), Scott McKenna (Nottingham Forest), Nathan Patterson (Everton), Ryan Porteous (Hibernian), Anthony Ralston (Celtic), Greg Taylor (Celtic), Kieran Tierney (Arsenal).

MidfieldersStuart Armstrong (Southampton), Billy Gilmour (Brighton), Ryan Jack (Rangers), John McGinn (Aston Villa), Callum McGregor (Celtic), Kenny McLean (Norwich City), Scott McTominay (Manchester United), David Turnbull (Celtic ).

Strikers: Che Adams (Southampton), Ryan Christie (Bournemouth), Lyndon Dykes (Queens Park Rangers), Ryan Fraser (Newcastle United).

Sky Sports

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