Scotland’s reserve captain John McGinn said they needed Wednesday’s 3-0 win over Ukraine – which saw them top their Nations League group by two points – after the grief of missing out on the World Cup.
Steve Clark’s side opened the scoring with McGinn (70) before Lyndon Dykes scored from two corners (80 and 87) to help Scotland recover Ukraine after their World Cup semi-final defeat in June.
“We needed that,” McGinn said. Premier Sports. “Summer hurt us so bad. Tonight we are back to doing what we do well, it was awful to play against us and show desire.”
Pressure was building on Scotland after a combination of missed opportunities by Stuart Armstrong, Ryan Christie and Che Adams in an impressive display from the hosts, but the gates were opened after McGinn broke the deadlock to rest the Hampden Park fans.
An injury to Everton right-back Nathan Patterson – which sent him stretching in the first half – was the only smudge on a perfect evening for Scotland. “We do not know [how bad it is] “Because he has to go away and be evaluated, but that doesn’t look good,” Scotland coach Clarke said.
Scotland dominated Group B1, with only two draws needed against the Republic of Ireland and Ukraine to finish the lead. Promotion to the first division of the nation’s league would give Scotland a guarantee of a Euro 2024 play-off game should they miss out on qualification.
Scotland player ratings
Scotland: Gordon (6), Patterson (5), Hendry (8), McKenna (7), Tierney (7), Armstrong (7), McGinn (9), McGregor (7), McTominay (8), Christie (7) Adams (8).
Subs: Hickey (8), Dykes (9), Fraser (8), McClain (unknown), Taylor (unknown).
man of the match: John McGinn.
How did Scotland turn against Ukraine?
Scotland had the best chances in a poor first half, with Christie popping up under Armstrong’s cross before mistaking his mistake after the Southampton midfielder’s shot was kept away by Ukrainian goalkeeper Anatoly Tropin.
Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mikhailo Modric, who was a transfer target for Arsenal and Brentford, was a constant thorn in the side of Everton right back Nathan Patterson until he was stretched but remained largely calm in the second half by Brentford’s Aaron Hickey.
Group B1: Remaining matches
- Armenia vs Ukraine – Yerevan, Saturday 24 September
- Scotland vs the Republic of Ireland Glasgow, Saturday 24 September
- Republic of Ireland vs Armenia Dublin, Tuesday 27 September
- Ukraine vs Scotland – Krakow (Poland), Tuesday 27 September
Adams led the offensive line well with Scotland and thought he broke through the Ukraine defense in the latter stages of the first half until he was scrutinized by Valery Bondar. Scotland coach Steve Clarke was furious on the touchline and felt he deserved a red card, but Oleksandr Karavaev was on the cover and Adams’ finishing touch took the ball wide.
Scotland were driven by the perceived injustice of the decision after the break and Armstrong had two chances to break the deadlock, but Tropin blocked them before firing from close range with the goal seemingly at his mercy after one clean goal with Manchester. United midfielder Scott McTominay.
- Kieran Tierney returned to Scotland in the absence of captain Andy Robertson
- Oleksandr Zinchenko missed Ukraine with a calf injury
Adams had two big chances to head down the back post but was saved from the crossbar and Ukraine goalkeeper Tropin, before sending a cross to Armstrong only to thwart the midfielder his third chance within minutes with a faulty header. .
But Scotland eventually got the breakthrough when McGinn beat Bondar inside the penalty area before turning around and firing a low shot into the bottom corner. The arrival of Ryan Fraser and Dykes made an immediate profit, as the Newcastle wide attacker assisted Queens Park Rangers with a brace from the corners.
McGinn: We needed it – summer hurts so bad
Scotland captain John McGinn speaks to Premier Sports
“We needed it. The summer hurt us badly.
“Tonight we’re back to doing what we’re doing well, it’s awful to play against us and show desire.
“We know we are a good team and we owe it to the fans, the coach and most of all to a performance like this.”
Talking to ITV, He added, “We created a lot of chances and missed them, which is the story of our summer, but tonight we were patient and continued to create chances and luckily we took advantage of them in the end.”
“What we were missing in the summer was what we showed at Wembley and here against Denmark – the grit, the desire, all the characteristics of the Scottish team that we kind of walked away from.
“It was important that we had a reset. The manager made it clear that it wasn’t good enough in the summer.
“We were playing with a point to prove tonight. We had important players missing and we adapted well, we changed our squad and that was natural for us.”
Dams: They changed the game
Lyndon Dykes speaking to Premier Sports:
“I was disappointed not to play, but I went in and changed the game.
“For Scotland, my goal score was good and I will continue to get the right positions and keep scoring.
“It’s a great start to this three-game streak. It will give us a lot of confidence and now we have to keep it going against Ireland.”
Clark praises the faith and confidence of Scotland
Scotland coach Steve Clark:
“The performance was really good, congratulations to the players.
“It was an open game, there weren’t many chances, and then we went ahead, and the first goal was always going to be decisive and fortunately we got that.
“It took us longer than we thought to hit the target, we missed some chances and then John did what he does well. From there you can see that there is good faith and confidence.
“It was nice to have two divers off the bench and make the result even better.
“When you watch from the side, you know you’re creating chances, and you’re waiting – in fact you expect – for someone to come in because you’re creating good chances. You trust the players to score and that’s what happened.”
Scotland The next game is on Saturday where they face Republic of Ireland In Hampden Park at 7.45 pm.
Then face Steve Clark Ukraine On Tuesday, an away match will be played in Krakow, Poland due to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. The start was at 7.45pm at the 15,000-seater Marshal Jozef Pilsudski Stadium, Scotland’s last Nations League match in Group B1.