Scotland boss Clarke ‘desperate’ to reach Qatar 2022 despite Ukraine struggles
Scotland manager Steve Clarke is ‘desperate’ to reach the Qatar 2022 World Cup as his side prepare for an emotionally charged encounter with Ukraine.
The two sides meet this week in a UEFA semi-final qualifier at Hampden Park, with the winner set to face Wales for a place in the year-end tournament.
The game will mark Ukraine’s first competitive game since the country was invaded by Russia in February, with neutrals likely to cheer Oleksandr Petrakov’s visitors to Glasgow.
Speaking ahead of the clash, Clarke said the emotional content of the game will be driven by their opponents but insists his team will only focus on their own goals on the pitch.
“We always said that we would be guided by the Ukrainians as to how they felt,” he said.
“They made the decision to take their football players out of the country and send them to a training camp to prepare for the game because they want to play, they want to try and give their country a boost by qualifying for Qatar.
“The game continues but still with the horrible outside influence, for us we focus on the game on the football.
“Nothing but good thoughts and good wishes for them, except during the game.
“They want to go to Qatar to represent their country but I am desperate to go to Qatar with Scotland.
“My team is desperate to get there and more importantly our players are desperate to take their country to the World Cup final, so that’s what we’re focused on.”