KIERAN Tierney dropped to the turf forlornly clutching his head in his hands after attempting unsuccessfully to clear a Beram Kayal cross and turning the ball into his own net and stayed there for some time.

His sense of despair was not hard for any Scot playing in the game or looking on to understand on an evening which had started promisingly only to end in a wretched and possibly very costly defeat.

The margin of defeat at the end of 90 one-sided minutes was only one goal. But that was misleading. The visitors would have suffered a far heavier loss had it not been for the heroics of their goalkeeper Allan McGregor.

The Rangers man , who has reclaimed his place in the national team as a result of his outstanding form at club level this season, produced a string of superb saves in both halves, but ultimately he only managed to spare his side an absolute doing.

They are still level on points with both Israel and Albania at the top of League C Group 1 and still have a chance of securing a Euro 2020 play-off place. However, if they play like this going forward they risk missing out once again.

Scotland, who had taken the lead in the first-half when Charlie Mulgrew converted a penalty, are a team in transition. Alex McLeish has looked to blood young players since taking over at the start of the year. They need time to learn about the harsh realities of international football. This will, no doubt about it, have been an eye-opening experience for them.

Losing Mulgrew, the most experienced player in their ranks, after the first-half was far from ideal. Being reduced to 10 men after an hour when John Souttar was sent off for a second bookable offence was also a serious setback. But neither of those developments could excuse a poor all-round display. In midfield, in particular, they were bitterly disappointing

The optimism that came with the opening Nations League win over Albania at Hampden last month has quickly disappeared with this alarming showing and the manager now has much to ponder before their next competitive match against the same opponents next month.

In particular, McLeish must decide whether to persevere with the three man defence given the number of chances Israel created. A better team will take advantage of the huge gaps in their rearguard far more ruthlessly in future.

The large travelling support let the players know what they thought of their efforts in no uncertain terms as they walked over to applaud them - their boos drowned out the cheers of their counter-parts.

Israel were hardly the most formidable opponents. They were beaten 1-0 by Albania in their opening Nations League game away in Elbasan last month. It had been over a year since their last win and even that came against minnows Liechtenstein.

Supporters have turned against a group of players they feel have no great desire to play for their country and stayed away in large numbers. The turnout in the futuristic Sammy Ofer Stadium told its own story. The 30,000 capacity ground was less than a third full.

Scotland, taking a far more cautious approach than they had in their previous outing in Glasgow, certainly retained possession well for extended spells early on.

They edged in front in the 25th minute. Andy Robertson chipped into the opposition penalty area and Peretz clearly barged over Naismith before his rival beat him to the ball. Polish referee Daniel Stefanski had no hesitation pointing to the spot and booking the offending player.

Mulgrew stepped forward to take the penalty after the protests had died down. His staggered run-up prompted Israel goalkeeper Ariel Harush to dive to his left and he promptly drilled it to his right and into the net.

It was his third goal for Scotland, but his first in a competitive fixture and he clearly savoured the special moment as he was surrounded by his team mates.

Falling behind, though, provoked a positive reaction from the home team. They took control of proceedings and were unfortunate not to draw level before half-time. Dabbur, Hertzog, Kayal and Ben Sahar all had chances.

Mulgrew failed to reappear from the changing room and his place was taken by Scott McKenna. Losing their elder statesman was a blow to Scotland’s chances. That change left them with two 21-year-old’s and 22-year-old with a combined total of 17 caps between them in the back line.

It was no surprise when they conceded a goal seven minutes after play had restarted. Taleb Twatha cut inside from the left wing and supplied Peretz who netted from an acute angle.

The evening got worse for Scotland after an hour when Souttar, who had been cautioned in the first-half for persistent fouling, was sent off for a second bookable offence.

The away team changed to a back four. But it was a miracle they didn’t fall behind in the Holy Land. McGregor was equal to a goal-bound shot from Dia Seba and then Twatha somehow contrived to hit the crossbar from just a few yards out.

McLeish gave James Forrest his chance in the 67th minute. He came on for Johnny Russell and his arrival on the field coincided with a better spell from Scotland. Callum McGregor had two decent scoring opportunities.

But it would have been an injustice if Scotland had got a draw and a point.