Johnny Russell set for Sporting KC return after helping Scotland earn UEFA Nations League promotion

Johnny Russell legit celebration - Sporting KC

Forward Johnny Russell is set for a return to Sporting Kansas City after helping the Scotland Men’s National Team earn promotion to League B of the 2020-21 UEFA Nations League.

Russell played 17 minutes in Scotland’s 4-0 win at Albania on Saturday and was an unused substitute today as Scotland defeated Israel 3-2 to clinch first place in Group 1 of UEFA Nations League C.

Russell will now fly from Glasgow, Scotland, to Kansas City ahead of Sporting KC’s Western Conference Championship series against the Portland Timbers. The first leg will take place at 6:30 p.m. CT Sunday at Providence Park in Portland, airing live on FS1, FOX Deportes, Sports Radio 810 WHB and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM.

The decisive second leg at Children’s Mercy Park is slated for next Thursday, Nov. 29, at 8:30 p.m. CT. A limited number of tickets for the highly anticipated matchup, Sporting KC’s final home game of 2018, remain available at ESPN and ESPN Deportes will televise the game live from Kansas City.

Saturday marked Russell’s ninth senior appearance for Scotland and his fifth since joining Sporting KC at the start of 2018. The 28-year-old has enjoyed a brilliant first season in Kansas City, amassing 12 goals and 13 assists across all competitions. He has become the fourth player in club history to record double-digit goals and assists in a single MLS season and was named the club's Offensive Player of the Year last month.

Scotland’s group-stage triumph not only results in promotion to the next edition of the UEFA Nations League, but gives the country another possible avenue to qualify for UEFA Euro 2020.

Should Scotland fail to punch their ticket to UEFA Euro 2020 by means of normal qualifying matches next year, they will participate in a four-team Euro playoff in March 2020. The four-team field currently consists of Scotland, Finland, Norway and Serbia—the four first-place teams in UEFA Nations League C. The playoff winner will qualify for UEFA Euro 2020, which will be played in 12 host cities across 12 separate European countries.

If any of the four abovementioned nations advance to Euro 2020 through normal qualifying, the remaining slots will be allocated to teams from another UEFA Nations League. Click here for more details about UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying based on UEFA Nations League performance.