Scotland secured promotion to the top of the Uefa Nations League after their goalless draw Ukraine on Tuesday night.
Steve Clarke’s men went into the final match of their Nations League campaign needing just a win to finish top of League B1, having beaten Ukraine and the Republic of Ireland already in the international break. In Clarke’s 40th game in charge of Scotland (the same amount as Gordon Strachan and behind only Craig Brown, Andy Roxburgh and Jock Stein), the Tartan Army made things a lot harder for themselves than they could have and rode their luck at times.
In the first half, Andriy Yarmolenko should have given Ukraine the led after a cross from Mykhaylo Mudryk fell to him at close range but the former West Ham United man smashed the ball over the bar. Ukraine continued to pressure throughout the opening 45 minutes but Scotland held firm.
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And they weren’t without their chances either. Scotland thought they had a chance to take the lead in the first half after the referee pointed to the penalty spot when a Ryan Fraser cross hit Taras Stepanenko in the box. However, after a VAR check the penalty for handball was rightfully overturned as the ball had actually hit the defender in the head.
It was a similar story in the second half with Ukraine having the better chances as Scotland looked to hold onto the draw that would secure their promotion and it finally came after what felt like forever.
A performance to be proud of, even if it was nail-biting at times, Scotland’s players were praised by former women’s international Leanne Crichton who reminded fans that Clarke was without a number of his first-choice players.
“A performance that showed guts, determination, desire, probably everything it is to be Scottish,” she said on BBC Sportsound.
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“We had to ride our luck, but we were never overran, and when you look at the players that are missing, there have been so many hurdles to overcome. It speaks volumes about the squad.”
Scotland’s promotion has another sweet benefit. The Tartan Army are now the only British nation in the Uefa Nations League’s League A, with England and Wales being relegated to League B following their disastrous campaigns. While both England and Wales will be going to the World Cup this winter, Scotland fans were enjoying the fact that they are now the best British team in the Uefa Nations League.
“We are the best team in Britain. I don’t even know what the World Cup is,” one Reddit user said.
Scotland up to League A, as England get relegated to League B. https://t.co/w4Hi7qXLDo
— Derek Rae (@RaeComm) September 27, 2022
Sexy Scotland! Best in Britain 😎
— ßen (@ben12GL) September 27, 2022
Scotland hands down the best nation in the world🏴❤️
— Kai Cockerell (@KaiKaicockerell) September 27, 2022
Scotland are now the best team in the United Kingdom group A baby
— Dylan. (@horsburgh_dylan) September 27, 2022
Best week ever in international football 😂 pic.twitter.com/QOiOzwVLfG
— S T E – M C G R E A L (@SteMcgreal) September 27, 2022
we have more wins than england ireland wales and northern ireland all put together 😂😂
— Silky Kiltie🏴 (@Jml1877) September 27, 2022
This surely proves that we're a bigger team than England
— Callan Bell 🏴 (@CallanBell1) September 27, 2022
Scotland winning 2 out of 3 games, going unbeaten and getting promoted to Nations League A, meanwhile winless England get relegated to League B.
Best international break in a long time 🏴
— Sean (@Sean67_) September 27, 2022
Should be at the World Cup
Better than England , wales and Northern Ireland 👍🏼
— K (@WarrenKTBFFH) September 27, 2022