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Nations League - Football: Scotland v Ukraine preview

Ukraine ended Scotland's World Cup hopes in the play-offs in June and the teams meet again in Nations League Group B1 on Wednesday.

The fixture at Hampden Park kicks off a busy spell for 29/20 shots Scotland, who host the Republic of Ireland on Saturday before next week's reverse fixture against Ukraine in Krakow.

What

Scotland v Ukraine, Nations League Group B1

Where

Hampden Park, Glasgow

When

19:45, Wednesday 21st September 2022

How to watch

ITV4 & Premier Sports 1

Odds

Scotland 6/4, Ukraine 15/8, Draw 21/10 

Scotland bid to turn tables after play-off loss

Scotland have a solid recent home record, having beaten Moldova, Israel and Euro 2020 semi-finalists Denmark in their last three World Cup qualifying fixtures on their own patch.

That earned Steve Clarke's men a play-off place, but they couldn't make the most of home advantage in June's semi-final against Ukraine, who produced a stirring performance to win 3-1 thanks to goals from Andriy Yarmolenko, Roman Yaremchuk and, deep into injury-time, Artem Dovbyk.

They also impressed in the play-off final and were unfortunate to lose 1-0 to Wales, who needed a deflected Gareth Bale free-kick and a string of fine saves from Wayne Hennessey to seal their place in Qatar.

Ukraine had eight shots on target against Scotland and nine against Wales and they are 15/8 to continue their fine start to Nations League Group B1 with a victory at Hampden.

They showed their character by taking seven points from three matches immediately after their play-off disappointment in Wales and the only goal they conceded in those fixtures was an astonishing solo effort from Republic of Ireland centre-back Nathan Collins.

Ukraine beat the Irish 1-0 in Dublin in June, following up with a 3-0 victory over Armenia and they are 10/3 to win to nil against Scotland.

Both teams are missing key players, with Liverpool's Andy Robertson and Arsenal's Oleksandr Zinchenko out injured, and the draw could be a big runner at 21/10.

Hosts' defensive reshuffle could lead to goals

Scotland won their last six group matches in World Cup qualifying, but their form since then has been less convincing.

Clarke's men blew 1-0 and 2-0 leads in friendly draws with Poland and Austria in March, before the 3-1 home defeat to Ukraine in the play-offs and a surprise 3-0 Nations League reverse in Ireland where they were 2-0 down inside half an hour.

The absence of Robertson, coupled with the late withdrawal of experienced centre-back Grant Hanley, raises further doubts over the Scottish defence and that could lead to an entertaining contest.

Both teams to score, which has landed in four of Scotland's last six internationals, is 1/1 and the hosts are 7/4 to score over 1.5 goals - something they have managed in six of their last ten outings.

There have been 20 first-half goals scored in the Scots' 14 matches since their 0-0 draw with England at Euro 2020 in June 2021 and it is 11/4 that there are over 1.5 first-half goals on Wednesday.

Related Nations League News

Nations League - Football: What we learned

Nations League - Football: Outright preview

Ukraine wingers pose a goalscoring threat

In Scotland's last home match - June's 2-0 Nations League win over Armenia - both goals were headers, from defenders Anthony Ralston and Scott McKenna, and Nottingham Forest stopper McKenna is 14/1 to score at any time against Ukraine.

His main role will be at the other end of the pitch, however, as the visitors have some lively attacking players, including former West Ham winger Yarmolenko, who is 3/1 to add to his tally of 45 goals from 109 caps.

One less familiar name in the Ukraine line-up is 21-year-old winger Mykhaylo Mudryk, whose displays for Shakhtar Donetsk have reportedly caught the attention of top European clubs including Liverpool and Arsenal.

Mudryk scored in Shakhtar's shock 4-1 win at RB Leipzig on matchday one of the 2022/23 Champions League group stage and he is 10/1 to be the first goalscorer at Hampden.

Yellow cards seem a certainty

The bookings market is also of interest as, quite understandably, the World Cup play-off between the sides earlier this year was a feisty contest.

Ukraine's Yaremchuk and Ruslan Malinovskyi received yellow cards inside the first 11 minutes and Scotland's Lyndon Dykes and John McGinn followed them into the book before the hour mark.

Aston Villa midfielder McGinn is 10/1 to be the first player booked in Wednesday's Nations League clash.

The tough-tackling 27-year-old has picked up cautions in two of his last five Premier League appearances, against Crystal Palace and Arsenal, although he managed to stay out of trouble in his three Nations League starts in June.

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