Lyndon Dykes scored early but Scotland squandered their chances in a 1-0 win against lowly Moldova in a World Cup Group F qualifier at Hampden Park on Saturday.
Dykes made the breakthrough with a tap-in at the back post in the 14th minute after Nathan Patterson's initial shot was saved.
An unmarked Kieran Tierney then missed a sitter from a corner in the 26th, Andy Robertson fired over the bar three minutes later and Ryan Christie blasted high with three minutes remaining.
The win against the group's bottom side, and one ranked 175th in the world, at least turned the tide after a 2-0 away defeat to leaders Denmark in midweek.
“It was important we played on the front foot. I think we did that. It was important to get a clean sheet. We did that as well. So a good night for us,” said Scotland head coach Steve Clarke.
The win also sets Scotland up for the next crucial match in Austria.
Scotland has eight points from five games, one point more than Austria and two behind Israel in the race for second place, with Denmark so far the runaway group leaders.
If they can find a win in that game, with Israel also playing Denmark this week, it could set Scotland up nicely for the last four qualifying matches.
“We had to win the game tonight otherwise Tuesday would probably be a dead rubber. You always need that second to avoid that nervy five minutes at the end,” Clarke added.
“If you are not creating chances, you are more worried than if you are creating chances and not scoring, but we created a lot of good chances and 1-0 is enough to get the three points.”
Elsewhere in the group, Denmark striker Jonas Wind struck the only goal five minutes from time as the visitors struggled to a 1-0 win over a stubborn Faroe Islands.
Denmark boss Kasper Hjulmand made nine changes from the team that beat Scotland 2-0 in midweek, giving some younger players a start in a game the Danes were expected to win comfortably but the Faroes held them scoreless through the first 45 minutes.
Wind had the ball in the net in first-half stoppage time but his effort was ruled out for offside after a VAR review.
The Faroes put on a tremendous defensive display before losing Rene Joensen to a second booking in the 84th, with Wind heading the winning goal a minute later.