I'll be in the Scotland end and my Ukrainian wife will be at the other side of Hampden – emotions will be running high
31st May 2022

IT'S set to be an emotional night in Glasgow tomorrow as Scotland host Ukraine in the World Cup play-off clash.

And it's going to be even more poignant for one couple who will be sitting in different ends of Hampden.

The world will be watching as Steve Clarke's side aim to reach their first World Cup since France '98.

But Ukraine will have the backing of most neutrals due to Russia's unprovoked invasion of their neighbours.

And even some Scotland fans don't know who to support as they sympathise with the war-stricken country.

Rangers and Tartan Army hero Graeme Souness is one man who wants to see Ukraine get a bye to face Wales in the play-off final.

But Clark Gillies is a passionate Scotland fan who is regularly at the national stadium to back his heroes.

And this time he will be cheering against his wife Victoria who will be among the 2000 travelling Ukraine fans at Hampden.

Victoria is Ukrainian born, but has also become a Scotland fan in recent years since their marriage.

She admits Wednesday will be about a lot more than football though.

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She told STV: “I think it will be very emotional for me.

“It will be great to see so many Ukrainians from all over the world inside Hampden, and even to see the team, just making sure they managed to get here safely and are managing to play, just to see the Ukrainian colours and flags, singing our anthem and songs.

“It will be like I’m back in time basically, back in the past, before the war started. It will be nice, like a party, and freedom.”

Ukraine are preparing to play their first competitive football match since Russia invaded on February 24.

They have been at war for more than 100 days, with thousands of lives lost.

And football has been the last thought on everybody's minds in recent weeks.

But Victoria believes the play-off clash is the perfect opportunity to remind everyone of the ongoing conflict.


She said: “I am really scared that people are going to forget, that they’ll be like ‘oh, the war is still going on, we’ve got bored about this war, we need to live our life’.

“But for me, I want to make people aware it’s going on, it’s happening. It’s not all about money, but even praying or thinking about Ukraine, just anything to help.”

Clark admitted his wife Victoria wasn't fussed about the clash when the draw was originally made.

But after the war broke out, she was determined to cheer on the national side.

Clark said: “When the game was first announced during peace time, just after November, I asked Victoria if she wanted to come along. She didn’t show much interest at that time so I got a ticket for myself.

“Then the war happened and emotions started boiling. Victoria got the fire in her belly and started chatting to other Ukrainians in Glasgow and they all got tickets.

“She’ll be in the Ukraine section on Wednesday night with 2,000 other Ukrainians.”

It's a historic clash with a lot at stake between the two nations.

And whatever happens, there could be an awkward atmosphere in the family home after the final whistle.

Clark added: “Last time we played Ukraine here (Scotland won 3-1 in 2007), Victoria didn’t talk to me for three days afterwards, so I imagine I’ll be spending Wednesday night on the sofa no matter what the result.”

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