An inexperienced Scots side were well beaten by World Cup-bound Peru but it wasn’t all doom and gloom for national boss Alex McLeish.
There were some positives to take from a ridiculous end-of-season friendly the SFA should never have sanctioned.
Seven debut caps were handed out and a largely untested team at international level were disciplined, organised and not outclassed.
None of the outfield newbies did their chance of further caps any harm.
One of them was Dons skipper Graeme Shinnie who finally secured a much-delayed first cap when coming on as a second-half substitute.
The subs grabbed their chance and injected some sense of vigour into a performance that was high on perspiration if short of any inspiration.
Those are the positives.
Now the negatives. Scotland were toothless in attack and failed to register a single shot on target. Debut keeper Jordan Archer gifted the opener with a blunder.
And most importantly the Scots should not be in South America at all as the double header will shed little light on the teams who will compete in the Nations League against both Israel and Albania later in the year.
The friendlies against Peru and Mexico are the leftovers of former SFA chief executive Stewart Regan’s reign.
Regan arranged the unwanted friendlies at the end of a gruelling season, without consulting clubs or the Players’ Union.
If this was sold as a trip to allow new boss Alex McLeish the opportunity to work with his best squad it has clearly backfired badly as he was hit by a succession of call-offs.
McLeish has been forced to work with a skeleton squad.
But at least that offers the opportunity for players like Shinnie to secure their debut and then stake a claim.
Shinnie’s Dons team-mate Scott McKenna’s remarkable rise continued as he started a third consecutive game since making a debut in the 1-0 loss to Costa Rica.
Former Dons midfielder Kenny McLean, who will return to parent club Norwich City this season, earned his fourth cap in starting in Lima.
This was the first time Scotland have played in South America since the 1978 World Cup when Peru shattered the Tartan Army’s hopes with a shock 3-1 defeat in Cordoba.
Flying 6,000 miles is a long way to be a warm-up act for Peru and Mexico’s imminent World Cup campaign.
Such is the momentum of this Peru side, on a record 12-game unbeaten streak before facing the Scots, more than 700,000 ticket applications were made for this friendly. It is Peru’s last home match before facing Switzerland and Sweden in Europe en route to the finals in Russia.
Ranked 11th in the world Peru had more than 500 caps in their starting XI. Scotland had 59 and 34 of those were skipper Charlie Mulgrew’s. The Estadio Nacional del Peru was a 47,000 sell-out. A cauldron that would be daunting for an experienced squad. This Scots team were raw and largely untested at this level.
The debut starting caps went to Millwall goalkeeper Archer, Kilmarnock full-back Stephen O’Donnell and Hibs duo Lewis Stevenson and Dylan McGeouch, a summer signing target for Aberdeen.
The first chance came in the sixth minute as Archer tipped a Christian Cueva 30-yard free-kick wide.
In the 27th minute Stevenson floated a free-kick to the back post towards McKenna but the Dons centre-back’s 15-yard header landed on the roof of the net.
Peru went ahead through a horrendous goalkeeping error in the 37th minute.
Archer’s inexperience was shown when he needlessly raced off his line to close down Farfan when Mulgrew had the situation under control. Archer lunged in at the edge of the box, collided with Mulgrew and opened up space for a shot from Farfan.
McKenna turned his back and the shot hit the top of his arm. Referee Fernando Guerrero Ramírez awarded a penalty that CUEVA converted.
It will have been frustrating for McLeish as the Scots’ condensed shape was containing Peru.
In the 44th minute a 30-yard strike from Flores bounced in front of Archer who spilled the ball, but it was scooped away to safety by the covering O’Donnell.
Scotland fell further behind in the 47th minute when Jefferson FARFAN latched on to a cutback from the left bye-line by Yoshimar Yotun. Keeper Archer was found wanting yet again when he got a weak hand to the left-footed volley which flew beyond him.
The hosts began to dominate possession and dictate pace with Scotland having no attacking outlet.
Substitute Morgan was introduced for his debut and was immediately involved with a superb run and pass to Paterson.
Crossing to the back-post, Paterson picked out McBurnie unmarked but he could not get his shot on target from six yards out.
It was much better from the Scots with the substitutes all pivotal in the action.
Shinnie came on for his debut in the 76th minute, replacing McGeouch in central midfield.
Next up Mexico at the 87,000 sell-out Estadio Azteca on Sunday. Physically draining in stifling heat at an altitude of 7,280. Cheers, Stewart Regan.
Peru: Carvallo, Advincula, Ramos, Rodriguez, Trauco, Tapia, Yotun, Flores, Carrillo, Cueva, Farfan.
Subs: Pollo (for Carrillo 69), Ruidíazat (for Yotun 69), Aquino (for Cueva 80), Hurtado (for Farfan 81), Cartagena (for Tapia 84), Corzo (for Advincula 87).
Subs not used: Gallese, Rodrígues, Cáceda, Peña, Loyola, Aquino, Abram
Scotland: Archer, O’Donnell, Mulgrew, McKenna, Stevenson, McTominay, McGeouch, McGinn, McLean, Murphy, Phillips.
Subs: Paterson (for McGinn 63), McBurnie (for Murphy 63), Morgan (for Phillips 72), Shinnie (for McGeouch 76), Cadden (for McLean 87)
Subs not used: McLaughlin, Bain, Hendry, Christie, Russell. Ref: Fernando Guerrero Ramírez.