Should results go the way of Macedonia against the Scots in Skopje, and Wales against Serbia in Cardiff, Gordon Strachan's squad will be secure in the fresh ignominy of finishing last in a six-team section, a feat even more underwhelming than any from the dark days of Berti Vogts and George Burley.
For all the signs that Scotland have bottomed out and are building towards Euro 2016, where they are almost certain to be in the fourth pot for the draw regardless, the imperative to avoid this prospect alone should be capable of putting some additional fire in the bellies of Gordon Strachan's side as they bid to bounce back from Friday's defeat to Belgium at Hampden.
"It hurts, yeah, but I have hurt a few times in football and everybody in the squad has hurt at times, but we have managed to dust ourselves down and do something about it," Strachan said. "It's not great looking at it, that's for sure. There are three points between us and third, but we have put ourselves in that position. So it is [a] big [game]. It's winnable, but Wales couldn't win there."
While the psychological boost provided by climbing off the bottom would be welcome, of more practical value could be a bit of selective experimentation to find the right blend up front. To that end, Jamie Mackie of Nottingham Forest and Ross McCormack of Leeds United are likely to come into the reckoning for a striking role, while Ikechi Anya or Barry Bannan could replace Robert Snodgrass.
While some partnerships may require a bit more work, Strachan declared himself happy with the bulk of his team.
"We have to look at what we have got," Strachan said. "I am happy with certain areas of the team. In fact, I think that's nearly picking itself now. But there are certain areas we really have to look at. I like my back four, I like my goalies and we have plenty in the middle of the park. It's up front we need to look at our options to link up with the rest of them. But it's not an easy job playing up front for us just now."
Against the Belgians, Charlie Mulgrew proved his versatility at international level, James Forrest was "a couple of turns, a couple of slips away from having a good game" and substitute Anya made a good first impression. Strachan said of the latter yesterday: "He was so delighted this morning that he was thanking me for putting him on and I was saying 'it's all your hard work that has got you here'."
Even more satisfying perhaps was the continuing solidity of the goalkeeping deputy David Marshall and the defensive unit in front of him, even if a mis-step from Steven Whittaker was severely punished at Steven Defour's opening goal and Grant Hanley's occasional over-eagerness was pounced on by Christian Benteke in the lead-up to Kevin Mirallas's clincher.
It was the third successive game in which Hanley and Russell Martin have played together in central defence and while Gordon Greer is around to provide cover on Tuesday night, the Macedonia game, Scotland's penultimate qualifier, should be number four. "Hanley is still impulsive, but he has strength and a bit of a pace," said Strachan. "He's a young man [Hanley is just 21] and I think centre-halfs are at their best between 28 and 33."
Hanley admitted he was culpable for the second goal, but still felt he could take pride in having kept Christian Benteke relatively quiet. "I'll hold my hands up to the second goal," the Blackburn man said. "I tried to read it, but tiredness was setting in. The difference was that they punished mistakes and took their chances. We were worried because he [Benteke] is quick and powerful, but he never really got in behind us and we were pleased about that."
Norwich City's Martin was buzzing after his first big qualifying match in Glasgow. "I found my first Hampden experience amazing," he said. "I was disappointed to taste defeat in the game, but the atmosphere and to play in a place with such history about it was great.
"That's three games Grant and myself have been together. It is fairly new, so in training we have been working quite a bit on it. I think we're building an understanding and with every game we're getting a little bit stronger. Hopefully, we'll keep getting the chance to build on it and get a clean sheet like we did in Croatia. If you have a settled back four and you're playing together a lot then the better you are going to be - it's as simple as that."
Martin also had words of support for Alan Hutton, who again showed flashes of the player he could be with the aid of regular first-team football. That prospect, however, is sadly limited just now by a dispute with Martin's former club boss Paul Lambert at Aston Villa, which saw a number of possible loan deals for the former Rangers full-back rebuffed on deadline day.
"I don't know what's gone on at Villa, with the fact Hutts can't get a game," Martin. "But for me, in the last three games for us with Scotland he has been right up there and I'm sure someone will watch these games and get in touch with him and take a chance. He's joked with us this week that he's going to retire from club football and just concentrate on internationals."
Martin added: "This group was gone a while ago. It's about building now for the next qualification process. But for morale and confidence, as a team and a squad, we don't want to finish bottom - that's for sure. It's important for us to go and get a result to ensure that doesn't happen."