National boss Steve Clarke insists defeat to Slovakia is not a backwards step for his Euro 2020 qualification heroes.
Scotland’s long unbeaten run stretching nine games finally ended with a 1-0 defeat to the Slovaks in the Nations League.
Despite the loss, Scotland boss Clarke refused to be downbeat just days after an historic night in Serbia last Thursday.
Edging out Serbia in a penalty shoot-out secured a slot at a major tournament for the first time since the 1998 World Cup.
Clarke insists the narrow loss to Slovakia will not derail the momentum his squad have built.
Now, he has urged them to defeat Israel away on Wednesday to win their Nations League group.
Aberdeen defender Andy Considine started in Slovakia for his third cap.
Clarke said: “We didn’t want the run to stop, but it is not a backwards step.
“We have to be balanced about how we feel about it.
“I said to the players after the game that the unbeaten run was always going to end sometime. And that there is a way to lose.
“For me, we lost the right way.
“I wouldn’t say we lost well, but we played well and deserved more out of the game.
“It’s always disappointing to lose, but it was a good quality performance.
“Slovakia are a good team and they were stronger than they were at Hampden in terms of their first-choice players.
“I actually thought it was a good game between two good teams.
“Although it was a defeat, there were a lot of positives and things for us to build on.
“Everything we want to do in the section is still in front of us.
“We want to finish top of the section and we go to Israel for our game on Wednesday night still able to do that.”
Following the rigours of 120 minutes and penalties in Belgrade just days earlier, Clarke made sweeping changes to his starting XI to face Slovakia.
Aberdeen defender Considine was one of eight players drafted into the starting line-up and the 33-year-old produced another impressive performance in earning his third cap.
Clarke also started Sheffield United striker Oli McBurnie in attack as QPR’s Lyndon Dykes, so effective in Belgrade, was ruled out through suspension.
McBurnie had a number of chances, but failed to break his international goal-scoring duck spanning 14 games. Dykes will be back for the Israel game.
Clarke praised the contribution of McBurnie.
He said: “I’m looking at Oli’s overall game. What was Oli on the pitch for? To hold the ball up and to win his headers.
“He was on the pitch to allow Ryan Christie and Stuart Armstrong to get up and support him. And all that happened.
“So it was a good performance.
“He could maybe have got his shot away a little bit quicker in the first half, but then that was also good defending.
“He just has to keep believing, working as hard as he did in this game, and the goals will come.
“A goal would change things for any forward who is on a run of matches without scoring.
“I can’t speak about criticism he’s getting on social media, but I can tell you he’s got the support of everyone in the camp. And he knows that.”
Captain Andy Robertson missed out with a hamstring injury, although Clarke confirmed he will travel to Israel.
Clarke said: “There were three or four players who could have done with another 24 hours to get their recovery right. The game came a little too soon for them.
“Andy was probably a little bit worse than the rest, which is why I left him out. It would have been too big a risk.
“But he’s coming to Israel, so we’ll assess him over there and hopefully get him on the pitch.”