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Nathan Patterson doubtful for Scotland’s World Cup play-off with Ukraine

Scotland’s Nathan Patterson (right) is a doubt for the match against Ukraine (Andrew Milligan/PA).
Scotland’s Nathan Patterson (right) is a doubt for the match against Ukraine (Andrew Milligan/PA).

Scotland manager Steve Clarke revealed Nathan Patterson is a doubt for next week’s World Cup play-off semi-final at home to Ukraine.

The Everton full-back has been included in a 28-man squad for the World Cup play-offs plus three Nations League fixtures despite being sidelined since April following ankle surgery.

Patterson is on the recovery trail and will be ready to play some part in Scotland’s fixtures next month, but manager Clarke admitted he may not be available in time for the Hampden clash with Ukraine on June 1.

“I think at some stage over the four, or hopefully five, matches Nathan will be fit to play,” he said. “His return to play is imminent and it will just come down to match fitness. I would put him down as doubtful for the Ukraine game.”

Arsenal defender Kieran Tierney has not been included in the squad after undergoing knee surgery early in April.

“Probably for everybody just getting the news today it is a blow, but myself and my staff have known for a little while that Kieran won’t be ready for these games,” said Clarke.

“It’s disappointing for Kieran and for us.”

Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour has been selected after missing the final game of his loan spell at Norwich with a minor injury, but his Carrow Road colleague Kenny McLean has not made it.

“Billy’s good,” said Clarke. “I’m disappointed for Kenny McLean, who has missed out again. He missed out on the Euros with an injury and he’s missed out again with a broken toe.”

Steve Clarke
Steve Clarke’s side face Ukraine a week on Wednesday (Andrew Milligan/PA).

Centre-backs John Souttar and Liam Cooper are back in the squad following injury, while Bologna full-back Aaron Hickey and Sunderland striker Ross Stewart retain their places following their first call-ups in March.

Scotland host Ukraine a week on Wednesday in a delayed World Cup play-off semi-final, with Wales awaiting the winners four days later.

Clarke’s side also have two games against Armenia either side of a trip to Dublin to face the Republic of Ireland in their opening UEFA Nations League encounters

Hearts centre-back Souttar returned from ankle surgery in his club’s final two games of the season against Rangers, whom he will join in the coming weeks.

The former Dundee United player scored in Scotland’s final World Cup group game against Denmark in November.

Cooper missed four months of the season with a hamstring injury but played six games in the run-in as Leeds preserved their Premier League status.

David Turnbull
David Turnbull is back in the Scotland squad (Jane Barlow/PA)

Both he and Nottingham Forest’s Scott McKenna are natural left-sided alternatives to Tierney in Clarke’s back three.

Stephen O’Donnell and Anthony Ralston, plus left-back Hickey, are options for the right wing-back slot if Patterson is not ready for the Ukraine game.

Celtic midfielder David Turnbull returns after missing the first few months of 2022 with a hamstring injury

Clarke has named four goalkeepers – Craig Gordon, David Marshall, Liam Kelly and Zander Clark.