We need more “good” news in these times of war, pestilence and strife. And thankfully, in many ways, Scotland’s friendly today (Thursday) against Poland at Hampden provides it for us. Of course, the Scots are playing the Poles instead of their World Cup play-off semi-final against Ukraine, which has been postponed for obvious reasons.
The Full Scottish with Brian P. Dunleavy
First and foremost, £10 from each ticket sold for the match is being donated to UNICEF’s response in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion of the country. As of Monday, according to the Scottish FA, more than 33,000 tickets had been sold.
“We have been heartened and humbled by the response of the Scotland supporters,” SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell told the BBC. “We thank every single person who has bought a ticket so far.”
The Scots aren’t the only ones facing an 11th-hour fixture change. Poland had originally been scheduled to play the Russians on Thursday but have been given a bye into a play-off final with Czech Republic or Sweden on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Scotland and Ukraine hope to reschedule their fixture for some time in June, with the winners facing either Wales or Austria.
In addition, the match against Poland could mark the national team debuts of Sunderland’s Ross Stewart and Hearts’ Craig Halkett, both of whom have been called up by Steve Clarke for the first time. Stewart has scored 22 goals in 38 games for Sunderland this season, earning himself a contract extension.
Finally, former Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon, back at Hearts for a second stint, recently reached the 50-cap milestone and, with 15 more appearances for the national team, he would enter the top 10 all-time. Even at 39, Gordon is still in top form and, with QPR’s David Marshall out injured for the Scots, he could move a couple of steps closer to that goal in the coming days.
Not bad for a guy whose career was nearly over after a dreadful leg injury while at Sunderland 10 years ago.
“Once I’m finished playing and actually look back and take stock of all these things, it will sink in then,” Gordon told the Daily Record. “But, yes, I do notice along the way special moments like this one and it is pretty special to get into the top 10.”
Here’s hoping for more “good” news stories.