2022 – Scotland vs Ukraine: Steve Clarke is confident his team will not be the ‘one-tournament wonder’

Steve Clark expects the Tartan Army to show sympathy for Ukraine while supporting its side
place: Hampden Park, Glasgow Date: Wednesday 1 June time: 19:45 CET
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Steve Clark is confident this Scotland squad will not be a “one-time miracle” as they prepare to face Ukraine in the World Cup qualifiers.

Clarke led his team to the belated Euro 2020 finals – the tournament’s first major final in 23 years.

He beat Ukraine on Wednesday, and traveled to Wales on Sunday where the winner will qualify for Qatar 2022.

“This team, this team of players, is going to another tournament,” the Scotland coach said.

“We said we didn’t want to be one of the wonders of a single tournament. I am convinced that this group of players will not exist, whether this tournament is in Qatar in 2022, in Germany in 2024 or in America in 2026.”

The semi-final match at Hampden Park was postponed after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in March and Clark is expecting a touching night in Glasgow.

“They chose to take football players out of the country to a training camp because they want to play and try to strengthen their nation by qualifying for Qatar,” he says.

“The match is taking place under a terrible outside influence, but for us, we are focused on the football match.

“How you’re going to handle yourself in this situation is something you won’t know until you’re actually there, but I just have good ideas for her and wish her well – except during the match.”

Former Scotland midfielder Graeme Souness has said he not only wants Ukraine to win at Hampden, he wants to win the world title as a message to Russia.

Clark answers: “Everyone has their opinion of the situation and everyone’s opinion will be different.”

“But I really want to go to Qatar with Scotland, our staff really want to go and most of our players really want to go to the World Cup and that’s what we’re focused on.

“Before the match there will be a lot of emotion in Ukraine and I am sure the Tartan Army will applaud the national anthem and then sing in their hearts and stand behind the team and it is important for us that they do that.”

Clarke insists that despite the war at home, Ukraine will be match-ready as its players have been training together for the past few weeks.

“I said a long time ago that I hope the match will take place in June because the situation there will improve,” he added.

“It didn’t happen, but we’re still here and we’ve always said we are guided by the Ukrainians and how they feel.”