And yet, with a dogged nil-nil draw against Ukraine – despite the absence of ten key players – Steve Clarke’s side secured promotion to the top tier of the Nations League and a play-off place for the Euro 2024 tournament.
On current form – better demonstrated by the home win against the same opposition – Scotland can be confident of outright qualification for that tournament without the need for a back door.
Clarke is perhaps fortunate to have a squad filled with talented players plying their trade in the English Premier League or more than capable of doing so.
But he is also an example of what real leadership looks like – understated, sensible, calm, confident without being arrogant, and content to let his team do most of their talking on the pitch.
There is a growing and palpable esprit de corps among Clarke’s players which builds the kind of morale that Alex Ferguson’s sides had in spades and which is so crucial to any successful side – all those goals scored in the final minutes of games were partly the result of a never-say-die attitude and a confidence that an extra effort would pay off.
Success breeds success and, right now, Scotland are on a roll. Failure to qualify for the World Cup was a disappointing blip, but it seems they have recovered their form.
Whether this manifests itself in 3-0 demolitions of quality sides or superior defending, it is truly marvellous to see.