The addition of Che Adams to Steve Clarke's Scotland bandwagon may not have been possible had that night in Belgrade gone awry.
But, with the dangling carrot of a place at the European Championships this summer, Adams has opted to represent Scotland over England, for whom he qualifies through a maternal grandparent.
Adams has had a successful season at Southampton, in what has been a campaign of fluctuating fortunes. The Saints were flirting with the top of the table when winter arrived but have since suffered a worrying dip in form, which has seen them slide down the division.
Injuries have not helped matters, with top-scorer Danny Ings on the sidelines currently as well as Theo Walcott and Michael Obafemi, hampering their forward options.
However, former Birmingham City man Adams has been an ever-present in the side. Adams has played as either a partner to Ings or as a loan striker himself, with Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl operating a 4-4-2 system.
He has a goal return of seven in 28 games, which is a similar ratio to Lawrence Shankland for Dundee United and marginally less than Celtic's Leigh Griffiths. The leading Scottish striker is Hibernian's Kevin Nisbet, with 12 goals from 29 games.
The man who Adams may well pair in the Scotland attack, Lyndon Dykes, has found the net five times in 31 games for new club QPR. Olivers McBurnie and Burke have only scored once each in a difficult season at Sheffield United.
The make-up of Clarke's attack for the Euros – which could see Adams face the nation of his birth at Wembley – will get a dry run in these World Cup qualifiers.
That Adams is already used to playing in a front two at club level will come in handy. Without Ryan Fraser in the squad Scotland lack pace in attack and Adams will give Clarke another option.
Fraser, if fit, is likely to be in the squad for the Euros, as will Dykes and Ryan Christie, who looks set to be used in a more forward role by Clarke. Adding Adams to the mix as well may make one or two others sweat on their places.
Ex-Celtic and Dundee United midfielder Stuart Armstrong reportedly played a key role in convincing Adams to pledge his international allegiance to Scotland, with the two enjoying a good rapport at St Mary's.
Armstrong has been a regular under Hasenhuttl in a wide midfield role, as opposed to his more natural central role he occupied when in Scotland. He has found a home for himself on the south coast and has been an impressive performer in the red and white this season.
He has found it hard to displace the midfield axis – Ryan Jack, Callum McGregor and John McGinn – Clarke has fashioned for the national side, but along with Kenny McLean finds himself a key component of the squad.
Adams' pedigree and impact in the top flight represents an upgrade to what Scotland currently have and also an indication of what Clarke has managed to achieve.
Had Scotland missed out on Euros qualification then Adams may well have not seen the benefits of playing for his adopted country. At 24, he still has a significant part of his career ahead of him and may well have put himself in a position for an England call-up down the line.
But he has opted to represent Scotland and they should benefit hugely from that. Steve Clarke has spoken previously of reaching out to eligible players who were not born in Scotland; the call to be part of the national setup now had to come from them.
Steven Caulker, Angus Gunn, Ryan Fredericks and Karlan Grant have all been mentioned previously, while Harvey Barnes is still an albeit far-fetched potential call-up, given his involvement in the England setup.
Scott McTominay made a similar decision in 2018 and is a big part of Clarke's plans. Dykes chose Scotland over Australia last year and helped lead Scotland to a major tournament for the first time in 20 years.
You would not bet against Adams having an equally important effect.