Nations League: Scotland 'promotion is realistic' says Steve Clarke after Ukraine, Republic of Ireland and Armenia draw

Steve Clarke has insisted there is no reason why Scotland cannot be promoted to Group A in the Nations League after being pitted against Ukraine, Republic of Ireland and Armenia.

Steve Clarke: confident (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
Steve Clarke: confident (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

The draw, which took place in Nyon last night, means Scotland are guaranteed to face Ukraine three times next year. The countries are already due to meet in a World Cup semi-final play-off in March.

Scotland have not played Republic of Ireland, managed by former Dunfermline boss Stephen Kenny, since the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign. Armenia make up Group B1 and are completely new opponents for the men's national team.

“Stepping up to Group A of the Nations League is a realistic target for us but it’s also a realistic target for all four teams in the group,” said Clarke.

“If you have a good tournament and pick up the points you can manage to top the group. We came close in the last Nations League but got pipped at the post by the Czech Republic. We will do our best to finish top again this time but if we don’t we will deal with the B games as and when they arrive.

“We understand the importance of the competition because we qualified for EURO 2020 on the back of a Nations League play-off,” he added. “What I’d like to aim for is that we qualify as of right for the tournament itself and we don’t need the backup of the Nations League.”

All the games will be played in June and September next year. UEFA are due to confirm the fixture schedule on Friday.

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