Deflated keeper Jonny Tuffey last night admitted Northern Ireland must learn from their Carling Nations Cup blunders quickly — or any hopes of making it to Euro 2012 will be nothing but a fleeting memory.
Tuffey was on the receiving end as defensive errors cost Nigel Worthington's men dear at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
There wasn't much light at the end of the tunnel at the other end of the pitch either as the only chances created were a weak shot from Niall McGinn and a glaring late miss from Rory Patterson.
But Inverness custodian Tuffey is refusing to give up the ghost in the pursuit of winning the inaugural competition.
“It really was one of those nights. After so many withdrawals we were always going to be up against it but it wasn't a performance we can be proud of,” said Tuffey. “We have to learn from our mistakes — and quickly — because we have a massive game coming up in Serbia and that sort of performance will not be good enough.
“We don’t score lots of goals so when you concede such a poor goal the way we did it is always extremely difficult to come back but we didn't help ourselves.
“It was just the first game in the Carling Nations Cup and although it will be very difficult to win it, we won’t give up hope. We know the standards we have to aspire to.”
Full-back Rory McArdle conceded any hopes off getting the better of Scotland were all but over after Kenny Miller's calamitous opening goal.
James McArthur and Kris Commons completed the scoring but in truth it could have been an even heavier defeat for an under-strength Northern Ireland.
McArdle said: “We tried to press their quality players like Charlie Adam and Kris Commons but we didn't pick them up at all and they were able to hurt us all too often.
“Commons was able to hang out wide a lot and because we tried to press the ball, he had room to cause us problems.
“The first goal was a really poor one to concede because the ball should never have reached Kenny Miller. Only James McArthur knows if he meant the second goal, but I think it was a bit lucky and maybe that was the big difference in front of goal. The really disappointing thing, though, was that we didn’t do the things we had planned all week.
“As soon as we conceded the first goal the game had probably gone and that is something we have to improve on.
“We only have ourselves to blame for losing in that fashion but we will learn our lessons the hard way. You would imagine it will be extremely difficult to go on from here to win the competition now but we won't give up hope just yet.”