STV Sport sponsored by Papa Johns

Date set for Scotland to play Ukraine in World Cup play-off

The teams will meet at Hampden on June 1 in the re-arranged fixture.

Scotland to play Ukraine in World Cup play-off on June 1 SNS Group

Scotland’s World Cup qualifying play-off semi-final against Ukraine will be played on Wednesday, June 1.

The match, postponed from its original date in March following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, will now take place at Hampden Park at the end of the domestic season.

The winner will progress to face Wales in the play-off final for a place at Qatar 2022. The Scottish FA have confirmed that the play-off final will take place in Cardiff on Sunday, June 5.

The team that comes through the play-offs to reach the World Cup finals would be placed in a group with England, Iran and USA.

Discussions between the Scottish and Ukrainian FAs and qualifying competition organiser UEFA had been ongoing since the initial postponement and it had been suggested that the play-off match could be combined with the Nations League fixture between the teams that is already scheduled for June 7.

That won’t happen but the new dates for the Ukraine and Wales games mean that the Nations League schedule has been rearranged.

Scotland were due to play Armenia at home on June 4 but that game will now be pushed back to June 8. The Nations League match against Ukraine, set to be played on June 7, has been postponed until September 21.

Nations League games away against Republic of Ireland on June 11 and in Armenia three days later will go ahead on those dates.

 Scottish FA chief executive Ian Maxwell welcomed confirmation of the revised schedule.

“Firstly, it will be great to be able to welcome to Ukraine to Hampden Park in June,” he said. “While, understandably, there will be two sets of competitive players who are committed to taking another step closer to World Cup qualification, we also understand and appreciate the wider context in which the match will take place.

“We have been consistent throughout that postponing the original tie was the right and only thing to do and look forward to hosting Ukraine at Hampden Park in June.”

Scotland manager Steve Clarke has consistently said that football is “secondary” to the serious event in Ukraine and expressed his hope that the conflict could be brought to a swift resolution.

Speaking last month about the difficulty in re-arranging the match, he said: ““The biggest thing for me is that I hope and pray that we can play Ukraine in June.

“That’s the most important thing. If we can do that then it means that the situation is a lot better for everybody.”

However, he had highlighted his concerns about his team being asked to play too many games in a short period of time and at the end of a long season.

“The most important thing is player welfare, when we get to June and such a short window,” he said.

“We can’t really be asked to play potentially six matches. That’s too much.

“I think the window is already scheduled for four games. I think that’s a heavy fixture schedule anyway. Whether they can find more room in the calendar and make more dates available and play five games, I don’t know.

“I think six at that stage of the season, when players have had a long hard season with their clubs they need a rest during the summer.

“It’s going to be difficult for us but those are footballing matters. I don’t think we should forget everything takes a back seat in comparison to the situation in Ukraine at this moment in time.”