Ukraine star says sorry to Scotland for ending their World Cup dream

Ruslan Malinovskyi has apologised to the Tartan Army after Ukraine ruined Scotland’s latest World Cup dream.

Ukraine's Ruslan Malinovsky (left) and Scotland's Callum McGregor battle for the ball at Hampden.
Ukraine's Ruslan Malinovsky (left) and Scotland's Callum McGregor battle for the ball at Hampden.

The Atalanta midfielder was one of five players in the Ukraine starting XI who has been playing regular competitive football following the Russian invasion of his home country.

Ukraine overcame the odds to beat Scotland 3-1 at Hampden Park to seal a World Cup play-off final berth against Wales on Sunday.

Malinovskyi said he wanted to compliment the Scotland support, who clapped the victors off at the end of the match after a deserved win. “It’s not easy to come here after only a couple of unofficial games and playing in front of such an incredible 50,000 support,” he said.

Goals from Andriy Yarmolonko, Roman Yaremchuk and substitute Artem Dovbyk earned Ukraine victory on an emotional night at Hampden. Callum McGregor struck for the hosts with 11 minutes left but it was too little, too late.

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“I have big respect for Scotland fans,” said Malinovskyi. “They understand our situation and they have given us great support.

“I want to apologise for the result. They are amazing people and it was a great atmosphere.

“Scotland gave everything to win this game and it was tight until the third goal.

“The Scottish people were great to us.”

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Malinovskyi knows the victory will be well received at home and elsewhere. “It’s been three months and I know some people are tired of all of this," he said, with reference to the on-going Russian invasion.

“But we still have to do what we can, even if it’s small things to help each other.

“We lived in peace before, but we have not good neighbours unfortunately, but I hope we can find the solution.

“There was some emotion in the dressing room and it was an important result. But if we don’t win the next one then it will be for nothing.

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“We need to be calm," he added. "It does feel big, personally I feel so happy we have given some positive energy for the people of Ukraine, whether it’s the soldiers or the normal people.

“We have a lot of contact with people back home, it’s our friends and family. They text us before the game, ‘you do your job on the pitch and we will do our job of protecting our country’.”