STEVE Clarke has dismissed suggestions Ukraine have no chance of winning the Qatar 2022 play-off semi-final and stressed he will prepare Scotland to face top class opposition.

Clarke yesterday named a 28 man squad for the game at Hampden next Wednesday night as well as a potential final against Wales in Cardiff on Sunday week.

The Path A encounter was scheduled to be played back in March, but was postponed following the Russian invasion and then rescheduled.

Viktor Leonenko, the former Dynamo Kiev and Ukraine forward, has written off his country’s prospects of reaching the World Cup finals in November due to the ongoing conflict.

But Clarke, who admitted the game may come too soon for Nathan Patterson despite including the Everton right back in his squad, is expecting the Euro 2020 quarter-finalists to be difficult to beat.

“We’ll not be paying attention to any of that talk whatsoever,” he said. “It’s good we are playing. We wanted the game to go ahead, no one wanted anyone to get a bye or to not play the match.

“It’s good they’ve had the chance to get out of the country and some of them have been in a training camp for a few weeks.

“They’ve been playing with Shakhtar and Dynamo. Obviously they have another nine or 10 boys from around Europe who will join them. They will have a good camp. They will be 100 per cent ready – just as we will be.”

Ukraine played three friendly matches last month and beat Borussia Monchengladbach 2-1 in Germany and Empoli 3-1 in Italy and drew 1-1 with Rijeka in Slovenia.

“We’ve had people out to all three games having a look and we’ll analyse it,” said Clarke.  

“It was only boys from inside Ukraine involved and a lot of them will drop out the final squad for these matches.

“But we’ll have an idea over certain patterns of play, but that might change when they bring in the likes of Zinchenko, Mykolenko from Everton, Yaremchuck at Benfica and Yarmolenko playing off the left.

“They are a good team, technically and tactically. They play on the front foot and they will come to Hampden to beat us.”

Clarke knows the football world will be willing Ukraine to defeat Scotland and then Wales and make it through to Qatar 2022 – but he is unconcerned with that having any impact on his players.   

“Everyone is saying they will be so motivated,” he said. “But I think you’ll find our lads will be motivated to get to Qatar as well. 

“We’ve waited a long time for this situation. It’s difficult for a country like Scotland to qualify for a World Cup.

“It’s difficult to put yourselves in this position, where we are two games away from going to Qatar. Myself, my staff and my players are all determined to be there.”

Clarke added: “It’s not going to affect the game, how they play or how we play. We just crack on. It’s a game of football.

“Everyone across Europe has shown a lot of solidarity with Ukraine. We had the game against Poland where we raised a good amount of money for them.

“We know the situation they have in their country is horrendous. But’s a game of football. They want to win and we want to win. I think it will be a good game, I really do.”