Scotland v Ukraine: Hampden should send Vladimir Putin a message but Scotland should still play to win – Scotsman comment

The whole of the free world will be cheering on Ukraine as it seeks to qualify for the World Cup at Scotland’s expense.

And it is quite possible that some Scots might be doing the same, given the horrors of the war unleashed by Vladimir Putin on that country and the waves of sympathy and support this has created.

However, the true spirit of sport is to compete to the best of our abilities in friendly and peaceful competition. If every team simply let Ukraine win, they would know and it would feel like an empty triumph.

So Scotland should play to win not just for themselves and their country – with the chance of World Cup qualification for the first time in more than two decades if Wales can also be overcome – but to honour the best values of the beautiful game.

By doing so, they would pay respect to their opponents who, make no mistake, are formidable and need no help from us.

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However it should be a game played to the highest standards of sportsmanship and fair play. And Scotland fans should make their feelings known about how much they and people the world over support Ukraine in what is their darkest hour.

Many Ukrainians will, obviously, be watching, but so too will many Russians. This is a chance to send a message to Vladimir Putin, to those in his country who support him and also those who are as outraged as anyone by the death and destruction the Russian despot has caused.

Scotland's John McGinn wears an armband with the Ukrainian colours during the international friendly against Poland in March (Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA)

We wish both sides the best of luck. And may the best team win.

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