Scotland: Russia thumping must be ‘lowest of the low’ – Steve Clarke
Scotland must "make sure this is the lowest of the low" after a "dreadful" 4-0 Euro 2020 qualification thrashing by Russia, says manager Steve Clarke.
The hammering officially ends Scottish hopes of automatic qualification with three group games remaining.
In five games under Clarke, they have scored three goals and conceded 14 and sit below Cyprus and Kazakhstan in the group table.
"I have to put it down to fragile confidence," Clarke said.
"The players seem to lose heart very quickly, which is unfortunate because we had done OK up to that point."
Scotland can still qualify for a first major tournament since 1998 through the play-offs in March, having won their Nations League group last year to set up a second opportunity to reach the finals.
In Moscow, they stood firm amid a first-half Russian onslaught, but shipped four goals in 27 minutes after the break as they capitulated under the hosts' pressure.
Artem Dzyuba scored either side of Magomed Ozdoev's fierce strike and Aleksandr Golovin made it 4-0 late on.
"We conceded a soft first goal from a corner," Clarke said. "Man-on-man we have to do better. But from there we quickly found our way out of the game, allowed the game to run away from us.
"We can't keep conceding goals. You have to give a nod to the quality of opposition we've played recently, but for us, it's to try to make sure this is the very, very bottom of the lowest and we build from here and make sure that come March, we are able to be very, very competitive and get through the play-offs."
The former Kilmarnock manager has now overseen successive 4-0 defeats - the former by Belgium, the world's top-ranked side, who also won 3-0 in Brussels in his second game in charge.
"In all the games we've played, there have been moments where you can see what we're trying to do and where we're trying to get to," Clarke said. "But the results are dreadful, no getting away from that. I'm not going to hide behind that.
"On the back of back-to-back 4-0 defeats, it feels difficult. But I was brought up the hard way so I'm in for the fight and I think the players are in for the fight too."