Well, sort of.
For while this was, in theory, a test to see how Scotland could perform in front of their own fans, where they are traditionally expected to take the game to the opposition, it, in fact, turned out to be the closest thing to an away game at Hampden. Belgium not only had the crowd behind them - a sprawling mass of 7000 fans spread over two tiers at Hampden who sang, swayed and cheered for their team for 90 minutes - but most of the possession, too.
After Zagreb and the England match at Wembley, here was a further test of Scotland's ability to defend in numbers, to thwart superior opposition while trying to maintain some sort of attacking threat when the occasion arose. Based on those objectives, it can generously be considered a partial success. Scotland lost again, and failed to produce much to greatly trouble Thibaut Courtois in the visitors' goal, but they at least demonstrated a diligence in defence and a willingness to get forward.
Group A, however, shows the team back in last place, a sign that the rebuilding work is very much still in its infancy. It will surely be of some consolation to the Scotland players that they will rarely have to face again a team of the calibre of Belgium. Household names all, even without injured duo Eden Hazard and Vincent Kompany, simply keeping tabs on them was hard enough work. Marc Wilmots' side were a study in perpetual movement, wingers switching flanks, striker Christian Benteke dropping deep, central midfielders offering width, and so on. Steven Defour, scorer of the opening goal, was ostensibly playing as a deep-lying midfielder but had the presence of mind to scamper forward into the Scotland penalty box once possession had been overturned.
His finish past David Marshall wasn't bad either. On a slick Hampden surface, the Belgians moved the ball at pace, every player comfortable on both feet and able to keep playing ticking over quickly with one-touch football.
Marouane Fellaini, Manchester United's latest recruit, seemed to be everywhere, playing alongside Benteke, thundering into tackles deeper in midfield, and making late runs into the penalty box. Granted he doesn't ever have the luxury of being an inconspicuous figure - his famous mop of hair must have weighed a ton last night given all that rain - but his workrate alone demonstrated why David Moyes spent the best part of £27m to take him to Old Trafford.
Strachan, though, would have been pleased with how his players quickly realised they couldn't sit off the Belgians and give them too much room. They pressed the space, stuck as close as they could to the runners, and tried to restrict Wilmots' side to half-chances.
It took until 27 minutes before David Marshall, deputising for Allan McGregor in goal, had his first save to make - clutching Kevin de Bruyne's effort at the second attempt - although the Scots were also helped by some poor Belgian decision-making at key moments. It will surely be a source of some irritation, then, to Strachan that when Belgium did make the breakthrough it stemmed from a Scottish mistake, Whittaker losing possession to Fellaini who found de Bruyne who then picked out the dashing Defour.
There was still plenty for Belgium to do when they turned play over - and most other nations would not have been so clinical - but on the back of two goals conceded from set plays against England it was another example of sloppy defending proving costly. A late second goal from Kevin Mirallas added further salt into the wounds.
When in possession Scotland would zip the ball forward quickly to the periphery of the Belgian penalty box only for the pace to then drop to a virtual standstill, as if the forwards and wide men were trying to navigate their way through treacle.
With the Belgians quick to get men behind the ball, and Scotland lacking the inventiveness and speed to pick a way through them, it left the home side having to resort to hopeful long-range efforts, although one Scott Brown shot whistled only narrowly wide.
It would prove a fruitless night for Leigh Griffiths in the lone striker role - Daniel Van Buyten followed him around like a second shadow - while Jordan Rhodes was similarly unable to make an impact, although he did poke one half-chance wide of goal. Scotland were marginally more ambitious in the second half, with Ikechi Anya making a lively contribution on his debut, although that only left them vulnerable to the Belgians countering at speed.
It may be pushing it to still speak of progress following a second defeat in a row but the narrowness of the scoreline, and the effectiveness of some of the defending, will at least offer some encouragement. After facing three of the highest-ranked sides in the world in their last three matches, perhaps Macedonia on Tuesday night will offer a truer reflection on whether Scotland are moving forward under Strachan or not.