I would like to thank the Scottish people but Ukraine is in a fighting mood

EMOTIONAL Oleksandar Zinchenko has sent heartfelt thanks to Scotland for their show of support for the difficult situation in Ukraine.

But the Manchester City defender said gratitude would go out the window in the World Cup play-off semi-final, with Ukraine heading into the Hampden clash “100 per cent” motivated to win.


Zinchenko was emotional as he carried out pre-match media duties1 credit

It will be the first time Ukrainian soccer stars will play in a competitive game after Russia invaded the country in February.

War continues to ravage Ukraine, with scenes of devastation and destruction still part of everyday life in the war-torn country.

Emotions will run high in Hampden, with the tartan army preparing to sing the Ukrainian anthem in solidarity with their opponents.

The match was originally scheduled to take place in March, but the dire situation unfolding in Ukraine has seen the game postponed to June.

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Zinchenko said: “First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to the Scottish national team.

“To the coaching staff, to the players, to all the Scots who are providing Ukraine with this incredible help.

“I have already spoken with some of the players and coaching staff and they have expressed their feelings towards Ukraine, which we are very grateful for.

“Second, our mood, I would describe it as a fighting mood.

“Everyone understands what is happening in Ukraine these days, what this situation looks like on the ground.

“That’s why I would say our motivation is definitely to win 100 per cent.”

The Ukrainian players will try to focus on a game that would take them within one match of World Cup qualifying.

Wales await the winner of the big game in Hampden in the wings, with the play-off final taking place in Cardiff on Sunday.

The winner will book their place for Qatar 2022.

Scotland, already without Kieran Tierney, will have to try to beat Ukraine without another key defender.

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Boss Steve Clarke confirmed Nathan Patterson had “run out of time” in his bid to get fit.

The 20-year-old Everton star has missed the last two months through injury but could still be set to leave on Sunday if Scotland manage to do so.

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