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'Scotland must put sympathy to one side when Ukraine game comes'

The Ukraine national team will head to Hampden on Wednesday.

‘Scotland must put sympathy to one side when Ukraine game comes’, says Callum McGregor PA Media

Callum McGregor admits heartfelt sympathy for Ukraine’s plight will be put on hold when Scotland take to the Hampden Park pitch for the World Cup semi-final play-off on Wednesday night.

Ukraine is in turmoil following the invasion by Russia and the visitors will travel to Glasgow racked with ongoing worry about family and friends back in their homeland.

The Celtic skipper recognised a “real horrific” situation in Ukraine but insists Steve Clarke’s side will focus, as will their opponents, on getting to the play-off final against Wales in Cardiff.

McGregor said: “Obviously we understand the situation and we have sympathy for it.

“You turn on the news every day and something else is happening.

“It is a real horrific situation. Ultimately the build-up to the game and most of the talk will probably be around that.

“But I think it is important as well that we realise we have a job to do. We want to get our country to a major tournament.

“It is a game of football and when both teams cross the line they will be just as motivated as each other to progress and get to the next stage of the play-off.

“So, we can’t be thinking about anything else now. Our full focus is the game plan.”

Asked about the notion that most neutrals will be hoping for a Ukraine win, the midfielder said: “That’s fine.

“Everybody has got their opinion, that doesn’t bother us at all as a group.

“We are professional, we have a job to do, as have they.

“The guys in their camp will be thinking exactly the same, they will be blocking all the noise out from outside and fully focused on their game plan.”