John McGinn’s brace ensured Scotland ended their Euro 2020 qualifying group with three consecutive wins as they beat Kazakhstan 3-1.
Another wobble had looked on the cards after Baktiyor Zainutdinov’s opener, which sent the Scots in at half-time behind.
However McGinn levelled just after the break and Steven Naismith turned the scoreline around in the second period.
With full-time approaching, McGinn was on hand to finish from close range to end 2019 on a high for the national side.
Following on from wins against San Marino and Cyprus, victory over the Kazakhs gives Scotland third spot in Group I and some momentum, ahead of the Nations League play-offs in March.
They will now await Friday’s draw to find out their opposition, with Bulgaria, Romania or Israel to visit Hampden Park in the spring.
Steve Clarke named an unchanged line-up from the 2-1 win over Cyprus, meaning a 14th cap for Aberdeen defender Scott McKenna in the centre of defence.
Scotland started the year with the infamous 3-0 defeat to the Kazakhs, that ultimately derailed their qualification campaign before it got going.
Their results against Russia and Belgium had been as expected, even if the home defeat to the Russians was hard to stomach given the way they folded after going in front.
Back-to-back wins against San Marino and Cyprus had started to give Scotland the winning feeling again, although Aleksei Schetkin threatened to put them on the back early at Hampden Park before David Marshall smothered his attempt.
John McGinn continued his emergence as Scotland’s biggest attacking threat, collecting James Forrest’s cut-back and worrying Dmytro Nepogodov with a shot across goal.
Scotland were probing and through James Forrest were making head-way down the left, while Ryan Christie was beginning to get great joy cutting in from the right.
An exchange of passes with Ryan Jack teed him up to shoot on his left foot, as he wrapped in an attempt that Nepogodov beat away from his near post.
The positivity lasted little more than a minute longer. Schetkin was able to release Zainutdinov and from 25 yards, with McKenna backing away, the midfielder beat Marshall.
Defensive worries continue to bother Scotland and they would have to come from behind again, with Jack working space for himself before testing Nepogodov.
As has been the case often of late, McGinn delivered when his country needed him. When Steven Naismith was felled on the edge of the box McGinn took ownership of the situation, hammering in a deflected shot that wrong-footed the goalkeeper.
The onus was now on Scotland to make the ascendancy count. Forrest and Naismith both missed the target from promising positions, while the Hearts forward – captain again – was denied by a close-range block moments after.
Naismith, eventually, would find the target. After an adventurous run from Liam Palmer produced a deflected cross that looped in the air, Naismith was the beneficiary of McGinn backing into Nepogodov and impeding him, as the ball hit the striker on the back and went in.
McGinn rounded off the night with his second goal, sliding in from close range to end the game in style.