It was almost one of the most remarkable of Scotland victories.
Leigh Griffiths had rocked Hampden with two stunning late freekicks against England and it looked like the Scots’ World Cup qualifying hopes would not only be alive but kicking and screaming with joy.
The Celtic man had produced two moments of magic on 87 and 90 minutes to stun the English and send the Tartan Army into raptures.
It would be a night to remember, surely? Well, no because it is Scotland we are talking about and they surrendered their lead three minutes into stoppage-time when Harry Kane shot home to make it 2-2.
Sub Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had given the visitors the breakthrough on 70 minutes but when Griffiths stepped up – not once but twice – to slam the ball past keeper Joe Hart it looked like it would be a victory to remember.
However, the Scots are now left, as they are all too often, with that sick feeling of disappointment and it will take a miracle now to qualify out of Group F and be in Russia next summer.
The Scots had made two changes to the side that started against Slovenia in March, including a big surprise at right-back.
Into the team came Christophe Berra and Ikechi Anya, while Russell Martin and James Forrest made way.
Anya replaced Celtic’s Forrest but filled in at right-back, which was expected to be the position taken by Kieran Tierney.
The young Hoops player instead slotted in on the left side of central defence, with Andy Robertson at left-back.
The others in the centre of the backline were new Hearts skipper Berra and Blackburn’s Charlie Mulgrew.
The visitors, who were wearing their red strips, made five changes to the side that kicked off their last match against Lithuania.
Manager Gareth Southgate handed a start to West Brom’s Jake Livermore in midfield.
Manchester United’s young star Marcus Rashford was also included, while feared Tottenham hitman Kane – captain of his country – was up front.
The English central defensive pairing was Chris Smalling of Man United and Chelsea’s title-winning captain Gary Cahill.
The Hampden roar was louder than usual and the stadium was bouncing as the teams came out.
The anthems were belted out by both sets of fans before a minute’s silence was held to remember those murdered in the recent terrorist atrocities in London and Manchester.
There was early concern for the Scots when skipper Scott Brown picked up a booking after just after just three minutes for slamming into Dele Alli.
James Morrison then took a sore one from Kyle Walker and for a second it looked like the Scotland man would have to be replaced.
On six minutes, the hosts had the first attempt on goal when Griffiths shot straight at England goalie Hart.
It was an encouraging start from Gordon Strachan’s men, who were snarling and snapping at their opponents at every opportunity.
England had yet to show anything in the game but, on 17 minutes, they came close to grabbing the lead when Kane pulled down a ball from Eric Dier at the back post then fired over the bar.
They came close again on 22 minutes when left-back Ryan Bertrand raced up the flank, squeezed the ball through to Adam Lallana, who in turn cut it back just behind Kane as he prepared for a tap-in.
The visitors were starting to strut their stuff now and, on 29 minutes, Scots goalie Gordon was almost made to look daft.
The Celtic number one had a rush of blood to the head as he raced out of goal to nod away a Dier ball but he only succeeded in finding Kane.
The Spurs man sent a lob flying towards the home net from 30 yards but Tierney was in place to head off the line.
The danger wasn’t quite over, though, as Rashford pounced on the clearance and his shot was deflected past for a corner.
On 36 minutes, Alli raced upfield and then played in Rashford to his right as the English continued to find space in midfield. However, the Man United frontman was pushed too wide, the Scots got a freekick and a promising chance was gone.
Three minutes later, Kane was then lurking out near the left-hand corner flag and somehow managed to find Liverpool ace Lallana, who shot into the side-netting and was inexplicably awarded a corner that, thankfully for Scotland and Italian referee Paolo Tagliavento, came to nothing.
Livermore stung the hands of Gordon with a strike from outside the box as half-time neared, with the keeper just able to fist the ball over the bar.
The West Brom player was almost immediately booked for chopping down Scotland’s Robert Snodgrass when in full flight.
The tale of the first half for Scotland was a fine start but not-so-good middle and ending so they had to up their game after the break.
They made a switch at the break, with the injured James Morrison making way for James McArthur in the middle of the park.
On 51 minutes, the post saved the Scots when Livermore’s low drive deflected off the leg of Robertson and smacked the upright with Gordon nowhere near it.
Griffiths was then left claiming for a penalty when he fell to the floor as Walker challenged but ref Tagliavento was never going to give it.
With 58 minutes gone, though, it was Scotland’s turn to attack and Griffiths did a great job to hold on to the ball inside the English box before cutting it back to Robertson. who blundered by taking a needless touch before sending a left-foot shot sailing over.
Two minutes later Armstrong almost took advantage of an advantage from the ref following a foul on by Dier that earned the Spurs man a booking. Griffiths carried the ball forward and picked out Armstrong just outside the box and he curled a shot a yard over.
Both teams made substitutions on 65 minutes, with Scotland bringing on Ryan Fraser for Snodgrass and England taking off Rashford and bringing on Arsenal’s Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Gordon was the hero for the hosts a minute later when he did brilliantly to push away a header from Kane as the visitors continued to look for a goal.
England were pushing and prodding the home defence and they got their reward on 69 minutes when super sub Oxlade-Chamberlain made it 1-0.
It was a terrible goal to lose from a Scots point of view, coming as it did from a throw-in on the right that was caused by Gordon having to boot the ball away following a mistake.
The throw was picked up by Oxlade-Chamberlain, who then sauntered past a weak challenge from Brown and fired the ball into the net off the body of Gordon.
Whether or not he was still thinking about his non-challenge on Oxlade-Chamberlain or not, Brown was lucky to stay on the park when he clattered into Alli. You imagine he would have been booked were it not for that earlier caution.
Oxlade-Chamberlain was enjoying himself now and he did superbly well to send a cross over that Lallana should have headed home.
Scotland brought on Slovenia hero Chris Martin for Anya on 81 minutes, while Alli was replaced by Raheem Sterling for the visitors.
Then came the real drama.
Scots sub Fraser was fouled by Gary Cahill on 87 minutes and up stepped Griffiths to fire the freekick past Hart to make it 1-1.
Just three minutes later, Griffiths did it again, this time sending his shot past the England goalie on the other side after Livermore had conceded the freekick.
That looked to be game over but Kane had the final say when he guided the ball past Gordon after he had been found by Sterling.
It was cruel on Scotland and especially cruel on Griffiths.
Scotland: Gordon, Tierney, Robertson, Berra, Mulgrew, Morrison (McArthur 46), Armstrong, Brown, Griffiths, Snodgrass (Fraser 66), Anya (C. Martin 81). Subs not used: Marshall,Hamilton, Naismith, Bannan, Fletcher, Forrest, R. Martin, Cairney, Reynolds.
England: Hart, Walker, Bertrand, Dier, Cahill, Smalling, Rashford (Oxlade-Chamberlain 65), Livermore (Defoe 90), Kane, Alli (Sterling 83), Lallana. Subs not used: Butland, Forster, Trippier, Lingard, Gibson, Stones, Jones, Defoe, Cresswell, Heaton.
Referee: Paolo Tagliavento (Ita).