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Scotland v Ukraine: ‘Trust and consistency’ bode well for Scots – Callum McGregor

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Callum McGregor finished the season with Celtic in a face mask following injury
Venue: Hampden Park, Glasgow Date: Wednesday, 1 June Time: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Listen to live commentary on Sportsound and follow live text updates on the BBC Sport website & app

Scotland can draw on squad stability and recent play-off experience for Wednesday’s meeting with Ukraine, midfielder Callum McGregor says.

Beat Ukraine at Hampden and Scotland will visit Wales next Sunday with a place at the World Cup on the line.

Steve Clarke’s side came through two play-offs to reach last year’s European Championship and are currently on an eight-game unbeaten run.

“We’ve got talented individuals, along with a good structure,” McGregor said.

“The consistency of the group has been really good, especially over the last 18 months. Everyone knows and understands their roles in the team. We all trust each other.

“You want to be playing in these massive games of consequence. It’s a big honour to be part of this, trying to get your country to a major tournament.”

Celtic captain McGregor, capped 42 times, converted from the penalty spot in both matches as Scotland came through play-offs with Israel and Serbia via nail-biting shootouts to book a place at the delayed Euro 2020.

Coach Steven Naismith described those experiences as “invaluable”, while McGregor said: “They are nervy affairs naturally, so it’s good we’ve been in the situation before, but it will be a completely different game.

“We just need to stay calm. The manager has a way of working and the squad has been settled for a while. You expect a similar style of performance; controlled with and without the ball, don’t give up too many chances hopefully, and we’ll wait for our moments.”

Scotland must put sympathy to one side

Football in Ukraine stopped after Russia’s invasion in February, but a squad of 21 home-based players has been together at a camp in Slovenia since the start of May and they have played three friendly matches against club teams in Germany, Italy and Croatia.

“We understand the situation and have sympathy for it,” McGregor said. “You turn on the news every day and something else has happened. It’s a real horrific situation.

“All the talk in the build-up to the game will probably be around that, but it’s important that we realise we have a job to do.

“When both teams cross the line, they’ll be just as motivated as each other to progress. We can’t be thinking about anything else.

“The guys in their camp will be exactly the same, blocking out all of the noise and focusing on their gameplan as well.”

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