Given what preceded it three days earlier, it wasn’t going to take much to represent an improvement for Scotland in this friendly against Portugal.
Frankly, Alex McLeish’s side couldn’t have been any poorer than they were in Israel.
A Hampden humiliation needed to be avoided. And it just about was.
The first Portugal goal, by Helder Costa, was conceded just before half-time and Eder and Bruma then found the net in the second 45.
With the last kick of the game, Steven Naismith made the scoreline less traumatic.
Encouragement of sorts can be derived from the fact that this team was one that looked more comfortable in a new formation.
There is a November Nations League double header on the horizon and play as they did against the seventh best team in the world, albeit without Cristiano Ronaldo and several other big names, and they should beat Albania and Israel.
That doesn’t mean this has the look of a good Scottish team in the making, just that they aren’t nearly as bad as Thursday night suggested.
Square pegs were in square holes and it was back to a back four.
Ironically, though, the only player to emerge out of Haifa in credit, Allan McGregor, was replaced in goal by Craig Gordon.
One of the players returning to his favoured role was skipper Andy Robertson and after an encouraging first few minutes for his team, he won an early corner.
It came to nothing but Scotland had started well.
Portugal actually took longer to settle into the contest and it wasn’t until the 10th minute that they first threatened from a free-kick conceded by Scott McKenna on the edge of the box. Sergio Oliveira took it – striking his effort straight into the defensive wall.
On 14 minutes the Scots came close to taking the lead. James Forrest delivered a ball from the right into the danger area and Oliveira’s defensive header produced a decent tip over the bar from his own keeper. From the corner, the ball broke to Stuart Armstrong and his long-range shot wasn’t far off target.
Midway through the half a chance was created from the other flank when Callum McGregor picked out Naismith. The Hearts striker’s header was a poor one, though.
The home defence had done a decent job of keeping the Portugese attackers at a safe distance but they were slow to react to a ball into the box on 25 minutes and would have been relieved to see a shot from the unmarked Bruma go straight into the arms of Gordon.
Two minutes later Bruma was again a threat and on this occasion McKenna did well to get a slight block on his shot to help it wide of the target.
Two good chances for Portugal, yes. But Scotland were by no means clinging on for dear life and a nice move down the left culminated in Robertson crossing for Naismith, whose back post header struck his marker.
On 37 minutes there was another headed chance for the same man. This time a glancing effort had Beto beaten but drifted just wide.
Five minutes before the break Eder spun expertly near the penalty spot but couldn’t direct his shot away from Gordon.
That was a let-off but Scotland couldn’t get into the dressing room level unfortunately. With two minutes left of the first half, Kevin Rodrigues was afforded too much space on the overlap down the left and his low cross was stabbed home by Costa.
The first effort of the second period was a Scottish one. The ball was worked out to the left five minutes after the re-start to McGregor. The Celtic player’s low angled shot was neither accurate enough to find the far corner nor wide enough to become a good cross.
This was the start of a sustained spell of pressure from McLeish’s men and it should have produced a goal. A John McGinn corner found McKenna and the Aberdeen centre-back’s diving header had Beto beaten but went inches wide.
At this point Portugal didn’t seem to be too motivated to push for more goals but on 67 minutes Bruno Fernandes was through one on one against Gordon. The keeper won the battle and wasn’t to know that there would be a very late offside flag raised by the assistant referee.
Motivated or not, they got their second on 74 minutes when an unmarked Eder sent a powerful header past Gordon from a Renato Sanches free-kick.
Two became three on 84 minutes and it was the pick of the goals, with Bruma cutting in from the left and lashing a right foot shot high into the net.
It was a credit to Scotland that they kept going to the end. Naismith made no mistake from close-range in stoppage time and 3-1 to Portugal it finished.