Much can happen in football, in these strange and tumultuous times we are living in especially, in the space of a month.

So it is unlikely that Steve Clarke and his Scotland players will allow themselves to become too downhearted by their failure to defeat Israel at Hampden in their opening Nations League match ahead of the Euro 2020 play-off semi-final against the same opponents in October.

There will be far more riding on that one-off fixture, different personnel could be involved and a few fans might even be allowed through the turnstiles. It will be an altogether more intense occasion and a repeat of this uninspired performance is surely remote.

Still, there was much for Clarke to be concerned by in his charges’ first competitive outing since last November. They could easily have lost. A lot of work clearly remains to be done in the coming weeks if that elusive finals place is to be secured.

Not least in attack. Scotland only managed to register a single shot on target from open play during the 90 minutes. That, too, came from a poor clearance by Ofir Marciano to substitute Stuart Armstrong late on. The Hibernian keeper atoned for his error with a straightforward save.

Clarke, as many had anticipated, switched to a 3-5-2 formation so he could accommodate both the returning Kieran Tierney, who donned the dark blue of his country for the first time in almost two years, and Andy Robertson in the starting line-up.

But he sprang a surprise in his team selection by selecting Scott McTominay, the Manchester United midfielder, at centre half. It is a berth which Scotland have struggled to fill over the years. So deploying such an intelligent footballer there was, even if he was playing out of position, worth a try.

Standing 6ft 4in in his stocking feet, McTominay certainly has the height to play in the heart of the defence. But he failed to deal with an Eli Dasa cross into his six yard box and was fortunate that his goalkeeper David Marshall managed to block Munas Dabbur’s powerful diving header. It is early days for the experiment and he performed well enough that lapse aside. He may not, though, be the answer.

Lyndon Dykes, the Australian-born striker who signed for Queens Park Rangers from Livingston last month, made his debut for his adopted homeland up front. The 6ft 2in forward more than justified his selection. He certainly did well to head down a Ryan Christie corner before the opening goal. His assured performance augurs well for the future.

Slavko Vinic, the Slovenian referee, was fussy and refused to let a tense game devoid of scoring chances flow. He also made some appalling decisions. Not least when Taleb Tawatha barged over John McGinn in the Israel area in the first-half. It was a definite penalty. A free-kick was given to the visitors.

Justice was perhaps done a minute before half-time when the home side were awarded a soft spot kick when McGinn went to ground after colliding with Eytan Tibi. Christie stepped forward and netted coolly beyond Marciano to claim his second international goal and his second in three games.

Taking the lead, however, made no significant impact on Scotland’s play. Israel enjoyed by far the better of the second-half. Somebody should really have converted a Dasa cross in the 71st minute. Zahavi made amends shortly after when he ghosted through the defence and rifled beyond Marshall and into the top right corner. The equaliser was deserved.

Clarke replaced Dykes with Oli Burke and McGinn with Armstrong. The replacements were unable to make a difference. This was, due to fact that the English-based players in his squad have not been playing matches in the build-up, an awkward outing to negotiate. But Israel languish in 93rd place in the FIFA World Rankings and should have been comfortably overcome.

Tierney, who has lifted the FA Cup and Charity Shield with Arsenal in recent weeks, showed he was comfortable with his role on the left side of a back three from kick-off. He read the game well and was always perfectly positioned to deal with any crosses that entered his area. But his showing was one of few positives.

We should be growing accustomed to matches being played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic by now. But seeing Scotland take to the field at their spiritual home without any fans cheering them on still felt wrong. There was a flat atmosphere throughout. Not so much the Hampden Roar as the Hampden Snore. The national team will certainly have to waken up their ideas a bit.