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Ryan Christie says players know how important World Cup qualification is to Scotland as they prepare for play-off semi final against Ukraine

By Will Clark

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FORMER Caley Thistle star Ryan Christie says Scotland will have to put to the back of their minds that most neutrals will be backing Ukraine to win their World Cup play-off semi-final tonight.

Ryan Christie.
Ryan Christie.

Scotland take on Ukraine at Hampden with the winner facing Wales in the play-off final in Cardiff on Sunday for a place in Qatar in November.

Due to the war in Ukraine, many neutrals will be hoping Ukraine will progress to the World Cup to boost morale in their country.

Scotland played a friendly with Poland in March to raise money for lives that were affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Whilst Christie is sympathetic to the situation in Ukraine, Scotland have their own dreams of making the World Cup for the first time in 24 years and are determined to realise them.

Speaking on Radio Scotland show Sportsound, he said: “You don’t take away anything from what is going on and all the players were delighted to do their bit in March.

“But it is time to dial in, we are desperate to get to a World Cup and we want to win this football match.

“We know how important it is to us and to everyone in this country. We are concentrating on the football.”

Christie says the squad is full of confidence going into the clash with Ukraine as Scotland are undefeated in their last eight matches.

In a Scotland squad which is hailed as the most talented in decades, Christie believes they have enough about them to see off Ukraine and Wales to reach Qatar, where they will face England, Iran and the United States in the group stages in November if successful.

“It is easy for us to say but we don’t say it lightly, it has been built up over two and a half years with this squad,” said Christie.

“When everyone meets up, people have a buzz to be with each other, it’s the best kind of chemistry I have been part of.”

He added: “This Scotland team is amazing to be part of.

“What helps is we have become successful together, so we want to carry on doing that.

“When you look at the squad right throughout it is amazing.

“The quality everyone is bringing to the squad is right up there.

“It gives you confidence when everyone comes in, everyone is chipping in and playing well.

“It is a great place for the team to be in and i’m fortunate to be part of that.”

Christie scored in the Euro 2020 play-off win over Serbia which sent Scotland to their first major tournament since 1998.

He says he wants to replicate that feeling again.

“You saw the reaction in Serbia and had a feeling of how proud you were to be Scottish.

“I want to replicate that and have the chance to do that again.

“We are desperate to get a positive result on Wednesday and if we play Wales we will go with that same mindset. It would be an incredible achievement.”

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