Scotland's second draw in four days at Hampden was a cause for disquiet, particularly since the performance was drab. Scorn was inevitable, and when footage of Craig Levein appeared on the stadium's big screens, he was roundly booed by the home fans.
They already consider World Cup qualification out of reach.
After last Saturday's 0-0 draw with Serbia, Levein selected a more adventurous line-up, with Shaun Maloney, the Wigan attacker, starting in central midfield alongside James Morrison, a player who carries out the best of his work going forward. Gary Caldwell, the defender, was deployed as a holding midfield, but the intention was clearly to impose themselves on Macedonia.
The visitors were underwhelmed. Ivan Trichkovski had already seen a shot deflected wide before his cross was turned in by Nikolche Noveski. The centre-back was at least a yard offside, but luck often deserts managers in periods of disquiet.
Nothing had worked for Scotland, but just before half-time, Morrison poked a pass forward that allowed Mackie to beat the offside trap. His cross was turned in by Miller, and Hampden exclaimed it's relief.
Scotland were not wholly at ease, though. The clumsy aspects of their play were still evident, and a rapid Macedonia counter-attack needed Mcagregor to rush out to block Daniel Georgievski's shot. There was no caution from the visitors, since it was the shot came from the right-back. Another effort, from Ferhan Hasani, bounced off the upright.
Hampden was not ready for full-scale rebellion, but there was dissension in the stands when Miller was replaced by Charlie Adam. The decision riled the crowd because it was perceived as a negative tactic, with Mackie, an attacking midfielder, moving to centre-forward.
"We want a striker," the Scotland fans chanted.
Jordan Rhodes eventually came on, and almost scored with a header from Adam's cross, but the ball ended up in the side-netting. There was to be no glorious finale.Reuse content