Scotland v Ukraine: Talking points ahead of Hampden showdown
Scotland face Ukraine at Hampden on Wednesday for the second time in less than four months.
The UEFA Nations League match is one of two meetings between the teams over the course of the next seven days.
Here are some of the talking points and Scotland v Ukraine betting tips ahead of the game.
Chance to make amends
Scotland fell well short of recent performance levels when they faced Ukraine at Hampden in June’s World Cup play-off semi-final. The home side were outplayed in the first half and went 2-0 down shortly after half-time and still took time to fight back before eventually going down 3-1.
Most of Ukraine’s players had not played a competitive game in months but they looked sharper than a Scotland team who struggled to get going after a long season. Ukraine looked a classy outfit in the summer and look good value as 9/5 underdogs but Scotland will surely be better this time around and are 33/20 for a home win.
The Arsenal defender’s absence following knee surgery was keenly felt in June, when Scotland also went down to a 3-0 Nations League defeat in Dublin. Steve Clarke devised his formation to fit Tierney and fellow left-back Andy Robertson in the same team and the three-at-the-back system does not work nearly as well when the former Celtic hero is missing.
With Robertson injured, Clarke has the option of putting Tierney in at wing-back as a straight swap or inserting him into the back line. Greg Taylor and left-footed right-back Aaron Hickey are options at wing-back.
The Scotland boss might potentially opt for a back four as Scotland improved in the play-off when he put an extra man in midfield.
All to play for in the table
Scotland’s setback in Dublin might not turn out to be as damaging as it seemed at the time. Republic of Ireland had already lost in Armenia and Scotland have defeated the group’s dark horses twice now.
Seven days. Three games.
— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) September 21, 2022
Stephen Kenny’s men also did Scotland a favour by getting a point against Ukraine in Poland, to leave the Scots just one point off the top.
Defeat would likely spell the end of Scotland’s realistic top-spot hopes but any other result would leave the group wide open.
Ukraine in fine form
Despite war raging in their homeland since February, the Ukraine national team has managed to remain competitive on the pitch.
In the five matches staged this year, they have won three (including the World Cup play-off against Scotland), drawn one and lost only one: the World Cup play-off final against Wales.
Indeed that match in Cardiff is their only defeat since they were eliminated from the European Championship 14 months ago following a 4-0 quarter-final defeat by England in Rome.
They finished 2021 with a run of five draws and two wins, away to Finland and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and another draw at Hampden is priced at 2/1.
A goal in both halves and a draw is a #YourCall option at 6/1, while Ukraine to avoid defeat, both teams to score in the second half and over 2.5 goals looks a good option for Scotland v Ukraine betting tips at 13/2.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication