After Scotland vs Ukraine, do our national football dreams start again tonight? - Steve Cardownie

Last Wednesday, I and thousands of others made our way to Hampden Park to watch the Scotland v Ukraine World Cup Qualifier. Along with my wife and son, we joined the hundreds of spectators that congregated on the grassy slopes adjacent to the car park.

By Steve Cardownie
Wednesday, 8th June 2022, 4:55 am

There, Scottish and Ukrainian fans happily mingled together, posing for photographs behind our respective national flags and kicking around a number of inflatable balls that had been handed out on our way to the game.

Nearing kick off, we made our way into the ground where we had tickets for the Ukrainian section and where we were greeted with the sight of hundreds of flags in Ukraine’s colours of yellow and blue as the numbers swelled to 3,500.

As the first half progressed, Ukraine took control of the game, so much so that there was no “Hampden Roar” and only the chanting Ukrainian fans could be heard.

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I did not agree with the patronising stance taken by some commentators and was willing Scotland on to victory. Ultimately, the Ukraine squad was too good for us and their passage to the next round was all but assured.

On the long walk back to the city centre, I was frequently complemented by Scottish fans who mistakenly took me for Ukrainian- probably the two Ukrainian flags my wife had painted on her face had something to do with it.

The Scots were fulsome in their praise for the Ukraine team and took time out to tell us that they were totally opposed to Russia’s brutal invasion.

While Scotland was left to lament another World Cup failure, the Ukrainians made their way to Cardiff to take on Wales in their quest for a place in the biggest football tournament in the world. Alas, it was not to be and an own goal and some dodgy refereeing decisions sealed Ukraine’s fate, leaving them to wonder what might have been while our Celtic cousins now look forward to competing in Qatar this November.

Scotland manager Steve Clarke during a FIFA World Cup Play-Off Semi Final between Scotland and Ukraine at Hampden Park, earlier this month. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

As for Scotland, we start again tonight against Armenia in the UEFA Nations League. Surely?