Attacker Ryan Christie insists Scotland will learn tough lessons from their hammering by Belgium.
The Scots Euro 2020 Group I qualification bid was killed off by a 4-0 loss to the world’s No 1 team at Hampden.
Despite a disastrous group campaign Steve Clarke’s Scots can still qualify for the Euros via the UEFA Nations League play-offs where they will face either Bulgaria or Finland in March.
Former Aberdeen loan star Christie, who spent 18 months at Pittodrie, insists all focus turns to the all-or-nothing play-offs.
Celtic attacker Christie said: “It was a tough lesson against Belgium but one we will definitely learn from.
“To put ourselves in good stead going into the play-offs we have to take the lessons from the games against Belgium and Russia.
“With the play-offs being a bit away we are desperate to get back into that winning mentality again so we need to finish as high up the group as we can.
“The manager said as long as we learn from the Belgium game it is okay as we have to go into these final four games with a bit of momentum for the play-offs.”
Fundamental for the 24-year-old is sorting the sloppy defending at set-pieces.
He said: “Over the whole you saw Belgium’s quality although I do think we stepped up and matched them for periods.
“If a team like Belgium cut you open with very good play then you can hold your hands up.
“However, everyone in the dressing room was frustrated at how we conceded the goals.
“Conceding two from Belgium’s set-pieces and one from our own was a bitter pill to swallow.
“We need to be switched on and resolute at set-plays.
“That is something we are going to have to improve on in the last four games.
“Although it was 4-0 the majority of the time we pressed them quite well and got into some good areas.
“Those are the positives we need to take because if we can do that against lesser teams we can really hurt them.
“Minor details cost you at this level. It is a learning curve.”
Since replacing axed Alex McLeish earlier this year Steve Clarke has lost three of his four qualifying matches.
Scotland are second bottom in the table with six points from a possible 18.
Despite the results Christie insists the Scots are on the right path under the former Kilmarnock manager.
He said: “I can definitely see things moving forward, not just personally but as a team. I back the manager to the hilt already and I have only been with him for one trip.
“That says a lot about him, his personality and the background staff he has brought in.
“Everyone has been superb which makes the results all the more frustrating. We felt it more against Russia because Belgium was always going to be tough against a world-class team.
“As an overall group we have grown closer. We need to focus that on to the pitch and start to pick up results.”
Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne underlined his world-class level with three assists and a sublime goal.
Christie admitted he can also learn from being in the proximity of such a talent.
He said: “When you play football De Bruyne is the type of quality you want to come up against and test yourself against.
“De Bruyne plays in a similar position to me, just off the striker.
“You can see how calm he is in possession and just how clinical he is as well.
“The timing of his ball for the first pass was perfect.
“His ball for the second was ridiculous and then it was an unbelievable finish for his goal.
“It is not just him but the whole Belgian side. They will punish you in split seconds.
“It’s important to watch the positions De Bruyne picks up and the damage he can do on the ball, even when he has two or three men around him.
“That’s something you have to aspire to, to be as good as these guys.”