88 min: Another corner on the left. Could Frazier and Dykes team up for an eight-minute triptych? Not exactly. Trubin clears his fists. Fraser collects a clearance and cuts in from the left before firing a low cross from the left.
Another corner on the left. Fraser and Dykes repeat the trick. It’s pretty much a carbon copy of Scotland’s second. Dykes hangs high to beat Ihnatenko and plants another into the bottom right. Almost in slow motion! This score does not flatter Scotland at all.
85 min: Christie and Tierney are replaced by McLean and Taylor.
84 min: Pikhalonok and Mudryk – very quiet after shining briefly in the opening exchange – are replaced by Ihnatenko and Zubkov.
82 min: Ukraine tries to respond, but there is nothing in the tank. Sydorchuk was penalized for pulling back a spinning Dykes near the center circle.
Fraser swings the corner to Dykes in the left corner of the six-yard box. He gets miles above Malinowski and lands a header to the bottom right. The substitutes waste no time in combining to double Scotland’s lead!
79 min: Christy’s presence on the left wing forces Karavaev to pass from another corner. And from that…
78 min: Once again, Ukraine failed to clear their lines properly, allowing Tierney to line up a shot from the edge of the D. He sends a bumper to the bottom left. It’s not the best shot, but Trubin, who is ignored, can only react late and turns into a corner. Nothing comes of it, but Scotland are in a good place here. Can they see? Can they add a second? Everything is possible.
77 min: Armstrong and Adams make way for Fraser and Dykes. Both departing players will wonder how on earth they are not on the scoresheet. They had their chances, came very close and played very well.
76 min: Ukraine cannot deal with the Scottish press at all. They are fighting to get out of the bottom third. Adams can’t take a shot while inside the box on the left; then McGinn fires in a speculative shot from distance which is deflected into the corner from the left. The set piece is played on the wing for Armstrong who passes long to McKenna. The defender heads harmlessly in from six yards.
74 min: Bondar is still whispering. Of course he is. There are still three months to go until the season of great entertainment and pantomime.
72 min: Yaremchuk is penalized for suggesting that McGinn foul Bondar during the celebrations. Some irony there, considering Bondar should have received a red card before the break.
It comes and is well deserved! Adams tries to control Christie’s cross down the left wing. Blocked. The ball goes to Tierney, who rolls down the inside left channel to McGinn, inside the box. He grabs his man, turns, and delivers a forensic kick to the lower right! Hampden erupts!
68 min: Adams rumbles down the left inside channel, exchanges a pass with McGinn before backing down the sideline for Armstrong … and how many chances does Armstrong need? He meets the ball 6 meters out, but when he really should have scored, he sends a header to the right of the goal. Armstrong was excellent overall, but that’s four very good chances to score now. A strange personal performance.
67 min: Ukraine is making a double change. Artem Dovbyk and captain Andrey Yarmolenko give way to Roman Yaremchuk and Viktor Tsgankov.
66 min: Despite all the excitement, the hosts do not forget to deceive Bondar when the defender touches the ball. Admirable grudge holding.
65 min: Ukraine respond through Mykhailichenko, who drives down the inside left channel into the Scotland box … only to be freed by the excellent Hickey. Homeowners clean their lines.
63 min: From the corner, Adams almost scored on two separate occasions, both from McGinn’s right wing loopers. First, Adams goes to the upper left. After Trubin is defeated, the ball rolls under the bar and away. Then, in possession of the Scottish skip, he brings down a second cross. Trubin kicks away. So close and Hampden is hot now!
62 min: Hickey slips a beautiful ball down the right into Armstrong’s goal and can strike – maybe should do hit – but maybe still thinking about what you missed a few minutes ago, cuts back … to no one in particular. But the ball bounces back to Hickey, who moves to the bottom right. The shot was deflected inches away from the goal. Corner.
60 min: McGinn lands a high ball on Ukraine’s left D. He spins and shoots. It is blocked. Scotland come again, Armstrong cuts in down the right and plays a one-two with McTominay, whose lovely backhand move sends his team-mate into space in the box. Armstrong leans back and turns for some rugby points. What did you miss? In a parallel universe, Armstrong has already bagged the match ball.
58 min: Scottish press and Ukrainian ship ownership. Tierney drives into the box from the left and cuts in behind Armstrong, who shoots straight at Trubin. The Saints quarterback took their chances tonight.
56 min: McGinn makes a sweet pass in the corner for Tierney down the left. His dangerous cross Adams is cleared by concealment and the Ukraine is broken. Yarmolenko slips a pass down the center for Dovbyk, who looks to be on the tear for a second, only to be denied by Hendry with a superb final slide. The flag eventually goes up for offside, but take nothing away from this brilliantly timed tackle.
54 min: Scotland are pressing Ukraine again … and once again they can’t pick out any final passes to trouble their opponents. They put up a decent fight until the final third. A pretty big caveat, but there we are.
52 min: Gordon runs out of his area to clear under pressure from Yarmolenko. Mudrik, who plays on the left of Ukraine, tries to return it to the goal from a distance. The net is not guarded, but the ball bounces harmlessly wide to the right. Hearts in Scotland’s mouths there for a second.
51 min: Tierney dives in with a long shot from the left. Armstrong tries to win a header in the box, but his leap is misplaced and it’s an easy claim for Trubin.
50 min: Everything is a bit cagey for now.
48 min: A nice touch and turn from Hickey, under pressure from Gordon’s pass, gets Scotland out of trouble. He’s looked sharp since coming on for Patterson, but also knocked the ball away from Mudrick on a fly toward the end of the first half.
46 min: Ukraine shot him in the back. Valery Bondar does a lot of pantomime every time he touches the ball. Expect this to be the soundtrack to the second half. The Tartan Army foggy.
Ukraine is preparing for the second half. They replaced Taras Stepanenko with Sergey Sydorchuk.
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Ukraine should be down to ten men at half-time.
45 min +2: A few minutes later, Adams is back on his feet. Nothing is taken from the free kick. Scotland are fuming, Steve Clarke advises the fourth umpire.
45 min: Adams steals the ball from Matviyenko in the middle of the park and heads past Bondar. As he begins to run after her in full skin, he is roughly checked under the chin by Bondar with great force on his arm and shoulders. It’s just a yellow, it’s ridiculous even if the defender isn’t the last man. It was incredibly brazen and over-aggressive to boot. It should have been red.
44 min: Armstrong, Adams and Christie block each other outside the Ukrainian box. There is no need for the visitors to defend the situation, as the hosts, who are too close to each other, are effectively defeating themselves.
43 min: McTominay, just to the right of the D, slides a diagonal pass into the path of Christie and enters the box in the inside-left channel. Christie lets the ball roll at his feet and another good Scotland move breaks down in the final third.
41 min: Scotland are driving Ukraine back without ever seriously threatening the target. Some nice possession, but when Adams has half a chance to spin and shoot, he can’t control and the chances go begging.
39 min: Mudryk shot low from a tight spot on the left. Gordon uses both fists to clarify in a no-nonsense fashion. This could be Ukraine’s first shot on target, or at least close to the target.
38 min: McTominay slips in close to McGinn on the right side of the Ukrainian D. He attempts Le Tissieresque twists, turns and volleys, but the ex-Southampton man makes it look easier than it is. Door kick.