Scotland were denied a seventh straight victory as Poland netted a stoppage time leveller to draw 1-1 at Hampden Park.
The Scots had been on course to triumph after Kieran Tierney’s first international goal midway through the second half put them ahead.
It was Poland substitute Krzystzstof Piatek who had the final say with a last-gasp penalty however, in a cruel late twist for Steve Clarke’s side.
Despite the late setback Scotland remain undefeated since September, as they aim to build momentum ahead of their push to reach the World Cup in Qatar later this year.
The fixture against Poland had been hastily arranged as a replacement for Scotland’s qualifying semi-final against Ukraine. The future of that fixture remains unknown following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, however in the meantime the visit of a Polish side ranked 28th in the world provided a formidable test for the Scots.
It was Scotland’s first Hampden friendly match for nearly four years, however the recent national team success delivered by Clarke attracted a strong crowd which gave it all the feeling of a competitive fixture.
A £10 donation from each ticket was contributed to UNICEF’s humanitarian aid to Ukraine, with an impressive figure of £350,000 estimated to have been raised prior to kick-off.
Clarke picked a well-established line-up, albeit Andy Robertson, Lyndon Dykes and Scott McKenna were sidelined. John McGinn skippered the side in the absence of Robertson, allowing a rare start for Greg Taylor at left wing-back.
Ryan Christie and John McGinn provided the support to lone attacker Che Adams, with former Ross County striker Ross Stewart and Aberdeen’s Lewis Ferguson among the substitutes.
The first goal threat of the night was provided by the home side on 10 minutes, when Nathan Patterson picked the ball up just inside the Poland half before making a marauding run past four defenders, culminating in a low strike which was comfortably gathered by Lukasz Skorupski.
Poland’s best flurry of the first half came on 24 minutes when Scott McTominay was initially forced to block a goalbund effort from Arkadiusz Milik. The ball was quickly returned into the box which allowed Bartosz Salamon to get a header at goal, which he directed over the bar.
Christie was a lively presence for the Scots, with the Inverness-born midfielder not far over the bar with a powerful drive from the edge of the box on 28 minutes.
Adams tested Skorupski from a similar distance five minutes later, with a low drive which forced the goalkeeper to gather at the second attempt.
Scotland produced a flurry of efforts in the build-up to the interval, with Poland having Skorupski to thanks for keeping them level.
The outstanding Patterson was first to try his luck when he drove upfield after collecting the ball in the middle of the park, however he once again could not direct his shot away from Skorupski.
The goalkeeper produced an excellent double save to keep the Scots out moments later though, initially doing well to beat away Patterson’s half-volley from a McGregor delivery, before getting down to parry Billy Gilmour’s follow-up.
Despite the lack of breakthrough there was plenty reason for Scotland to be encouraged going into the interval. They survived a scare just three minutes into the second half though, with Krzysztof Piatek played through on goal before dragging his effort well wide of target.
Scotland nearly carved out an opener on 58 minutes when McGinn latched on to a pinpoint through ball by Gilmour, however his touch to take the ball around the goalkeeper carried too much weight as it tricked out of play.
A slip up by Scott McTominay on 65 minutes nearly resulted in Poland taking the lead however. Sebastian Szymanski pounced before playing in Piatek for a strike at goal, and although his effort beat Gordon he was thwarted by an outstanding goalline clearance.
It proved all the more vital as Scotland took the lead just three minutes later. It continued a recent trend of superbly executed set-pieces, with McGinn floating in a free-kick which was met by the untracked head of Tierney to guide his first international goal past Skorupski.
Poland pushed for a leveller in the closing stages, and did not look like threatening until Piatek was awarded a penalty when he went to ground after trying to take the ball around Gordon.
Piatek stepped up to send Gordon the wrong way, to deny Scotland the victory.
SCOTLAND (3-4-2-1) – Gordon 6; McTominay 6, Hanley 7, Tierney 7; Patterson 8 (O’Donnell 66), Gilmour 8 (McLean 76), McGregor 7 (Jack 76), Taylor 7 (Hickey 66); McGinn 7, Christie 7 (Armstrong 76); Adams 7 (Brown 90). Subs not used – Clark, Kelly, Stewart, Hendry, Halkett, Brown, Ferguson.
POLAND (3-4-3) – Skorupski 7; Salamon 5 (Bielik 44), Glik 6, Bednarek 6 (Buksa 83); Cash 6, Zurkowski 6, Krychowiak 6 (Szymanski 61), Reca 6; Moder 7, Milik 6 (Piatek 26), Zielinski 6 (Grosicki 71). Subs not used – Szczesny, Dragowski, Wietska, Lewandowski, Kun, Bereszynski, Kaminski.s
Referee – Robert Hennessy (Ireland) 5
Attendance – 39,090
Man of the match: Nathan Patterson