An emotional Oleksandr Zinchenko has thanked Scotland fans who plan to sing the national anthem when the teams meet in their play-off on Wednesday night.
It will be a highly-charged atmosphere at Hampden as the teams meet while the war in Ukraine still rages at the hands of invading Russian forces.
As a gesture to their guests, song sheets will be distributed at Hampden so the Scotland fans can join in with the Ukrainian national anthem and Zinchenko and his teammates have been moved by the idea.
‘I take this initiative extremely well,’ said Zinchenko. ‘We have to be together. We have to fight Russian aggression, we have to basically defeat the evil. So, yes, this is an amazing, amazing initiative.’
On how difficult it will be for him and his teammates to play in these horrible circumstances, the Manchester City man added: ‘I’ve been asked this question a lot in these months. And I think you can ask any Ukrainian and the answer will be the same.
‘It’s impossible to describe these feelings until you are in this position. The things which are happening now in our country are not acceptable. It’s something which I cannot even describe.
‘That’s what we need to stop this aggression together and we need to win. Because Ukraine is a country of freedom. Ukraine is not going to give up.
‘But the thing is a lot of countries maybe don’t understand that today it’s Ukraine, but tomorrow it could be you. So that’s why we need to be united and we need to beat this Russian aggression altogether.’
The winner of the match in Scotland will take on Wales on Sunday for a place in Qatar and Zinchenko is desperate to be there to give his compatriots a boost.
‘I am sure that the whole of Ukraine will be watching us. We will feel the support,’ he said.
‘We can talk a lot, but we need to prove everything on the field. We will try to make our people happy and proud.’
, ., and .