Scotland were dismissed with some ease as they suffered a 3-0 friendly defeat against star-studded France at the Stade Saint-Symphorien in Metz.
An Olivier Giroud double and a header from fellow Arsenal star Laurent Koscielny gave the impressive Euro 2016 hosts a commanding interval lead.
The towering Paul Pogba sent a free-kick crashing against the post just after the hour mark but perhaps surprisingly there was no more scoring as the home side cruised their way to the final whistle.
It was another chastening night for Gordon Strachan’s side following the 1-0 friendly defeat by Italy in Malta last week where the narrowness of the scoreline betrayed the superiority of the Azzurri on a night where the Scots failed to get a shot on goal.
It was the fourth of four 2018 World Cup qualifying preparation matches for the Scots – they won two and lost two – and what this game against the French does for confidence will only be known when they take on Malta in September in their first qualifier.
Steven Fletcher’s inclusion was one of five changes made by Strachan, with veteran stopper Gordon Greer and left-back Andrew Robertson brought in, with Robert Snodgrass and Shaun Maloney as attacking midfielders.
The French had an array of top players in a strong starting line-up including Pogba, Dimitri Payet and Giroud, and there were around 26,000 inside the ground with 1,000 or so from the Tartan Army having travelled over.
It looked ominous for the Scots as the hosts went on the front foot from the start.
In the sixth minute Payet’s whipped-in free-kick from distance ended up at David Marshall who had to make a fine save to keep it out, but the keeper had no chance a minute later when Giroud got ahead of Greer at the near post to flick in a cross from overlapping full-back Bacary Sagna.
The French took a stranglehold of the game with little resistance.
Kingsley Coman fired in a shot from distance in 17th minute which Marshall did well to block down at his right-hand post but it looked ominous for Strachan’s side.
And in the 35th minute when Marshall could only parry a Payet piledriver straight out, Giroud beat defender Grant Hanley to the loose ball to knock in number two before Koscielny got the last touch on a Payet corner to make it 3-0 just four minutes later, the interval whistle giving the Scots some welcome respite.
Charlie Mulgrew and Ikechi Anya replaced Robertson and Maloney for the start of the second half while French widemen Anthony Martial and Antoine Griezmann came on for Payet and Coman respectively, which made Scotland’s task, whatever it was by that point, no easier.
France were soon on the offensive with Marshall making a save from Adil Rami’s header from a Griezmann corner.
Moments later, in a rare Scottish attack, the stretching Fletcher could not get a decent connection with his head to an Anya cross, the ball flying wide before he was replaced by Steven Naismith.
In the 63rd minute Pogba flashed a free-kick from 25 yards against the post as the Scots escaped again.
It was tough going.
Swansea’s 21-year-old defender Stephen Kingsley replaced Snodgrass moments later to make his debut and he had plenty to do as France kept coming forward, down both wings and through the middle.
In the 78th minute, after Mulgrew fouled Griezmann 35 yards from goal, Pogba lifted the free-kick just over the bar, before winger Barry McKay replaced James McArthur to make his debut, with Griezmann missing an injury-time header.