And while low on numbers, Scotland came up short in Copenhagen where two first half goals in 92 seconds from Daniel Wass and Joakim Maehle gave them an uphill struggle.
Possession totalling just 37% of the first half indicated how the game had gone. A more positive second half gave hope and Ryan Fraser almost reduced the deficit late on but was denied by Kasper Schmeichel.
Lewi Ferguson of Aberdeen was given a debut and the squad must regroup for Saturday evening’s home match with Moldova at Hampden after slipping to fourth in the qualification group.
Here’s how they rated in the Parken Stadion as Denmark moved to 12 points from four qualifying games to stand on the verge of sealing a spot in the Qatar World Cup next year.
1. Craig Gordon - 6
Good stops in either half but could perhaps have done better at the opener. Another strong showing from Scotland's current number one against top class opposition.
Photo: Fran Santiago
2. Grant Hanley - 6
Tough at the back and task was tough too. Defender overdid it a few times and ran suspension tightrope but held defence together.
Photo: MADS CLAUS RASMUSSEN
3. Liam Cooper - 5
By-passed in the first half and more involved in the second. Had better games, but entire defence looked shaken by the Danes before the break.
Photo: ANDY BUCHANAN
4. Kieran Tierney - 6
Caught for the first goal but important interceptions at other times and pressure relieving runs in second half from more natural position gave more hope but by that stage game was won.
Photo: LEE SMITH