Scotland had thrown everything at Ukraine – feet, head and hearts – and were just about to ask for kitchen sinks from the residents of Glasgow south side when John McGinn’s backside finally broke Ukrainian resistance.
The Aston Villa midfielder admits he has the beefiest behind in football and the home captain duly used his rear to dump defender Valerii Bondar on his before lashing the opening goal on 70 minutes. Substitute Lyndon Dykes then headed a pair of late goals from Ryan Fraser corners to add deserved gloss to the scoreline.
And what a relief that was for Steve Clarke, whose side move to the top of their Nations League group with two to play. Remain at the summit and they guarantee a play-off spot for Euro 2024 as well earning second seed in the qualifying draw. There are also potential implications for World Cup 2026. This, then, had plenty riding on it.
‘The score looks good but we still have a lot of work to do in the group,’ said Clarke, with Republic of Ireland to come on Saturday before Ukraine in Poland on Tuesday. ‘It took us a long time to get the goal but we relaxed after that.’
Not that the evening went to plan for the opening hour or so. Even in foresight the decision to hold a minute’s applause for Queen Elizabeth II prior to kick-off felt risky, and so it proved.
While large numbers were respectful, there was audible booing throughout. It was not a minority and, given such division among the home fanbase, the game started amid a muted atmosphere.
The mood inside this usually raucous stadium took another hit when, on 26 minutes, Everton right back Nathan Patterson was stretchered off with what looked a serious knee injury.
But injustice has a habit of stirring the masses and, after Che Adams was taken out by Bondar with a block to make even an NFL linebacker wince, the Scots cried foul when the punishment was just yellow.
It rallied those on the field, too, and after a flurry of openings were either saved or hit the woodwork, McGinn’s rump intervened to set up a sizzling finale
Re-live the action with Sportsmail’s live blog for the Nations League clash between Scotland and Ukraine.