RACHEL Corsie’s demeanour and body language at the Falkirk Stadium on Friday night eloquently expressed the abject nature of Scotland’s performance in losing 4-0 to Iceland.

Corsie, who plays in central defence for Seattle Reign, is a winner and her anger in the aftermath of the home Euro 2017 qualifying defeat was plain to see. A hard-fought, narrow defeat would still have riled the 26-year-old, but Scotland were comprehensively outplayed in every area of the pitch by the Group 1 top seeds.

Before looking at why that happened, and ahead to tomorrow night’s qualifier against Belarus in Minsk, it is worth pausing to praise the Icelanders. With a population of just over 330,000 they are an inspiring example of how even tiny nations can be successful at football. Tomorrow night, some two hours after Scotland have played Belarus, they will clinch their place at

Euro 2017 with a routine win over Group 1 stragglers Macedonia in Reykjavik. They will do it with two games to spare, one of which is the return against Scotland in September.

A week tomorrow the Iceland men’s team will play their opening Euro 2016 game in Saint-Etienne against Portugal. Their successful qualifying campaign included home and away victories over Holland. They are in France; Scotland aren’t.

On Friday, Iceland imposed themselves from the opening seconds. They had the luxury of substituting their two best players, Holmfriour Magnusdottir and Margret Lara Vidarsdottir, after the fourth goal, while another of their stars, Dagny Brynjarsdottir, played for only 45 minutes.

Above all, Iceland played like a powerful club team and their high-tempo, hard-pressing game forced the home side into giving away possession cheaply.

All too often, Scotland looked like a team of isolated individuals while Iceland swarmed around every area of the pitch.

At the end, the Iceland players celebrated in front of their small band of supporters as if they had already qualified and won Group 1. The first is as good as assured; the second firmly in their grasp.

For all Iceland’s manifest superiority, the scoreline would not have been as emphatic had it not been for Scotland’s abysmal failure to cope with high balls in the box – although the Scots did have cause to be grateful to goalkeeper Gemma Fay for an outstanding save and to her left hand post for preventing a fifth Iceland goal.

The perplexing aspect of the four goals is that central defence should be one of Scotland’s strongest areas. Jenny Beattie and Ifeoma Dieke are Anna Signeul’s chosen combination, which means Corsie has been pushed forward to a holding midfield role throughout Euro qualifying.

Hibernian captain Joelle Murray is also a central defender and has been playing some of the best football of her career. Dieke, who is 35 and was at fault for the first two Iceland goals, will be fortunate to retain her place against Belarus.

Similarly, there is now a strong case to be made for Signeul selecting Corsie and Beattie, a midfielder at Manchester City, in their club positions. Just about the only consolation is that Scotland have the opportunity to bounce back quickly in Minsk. “Absolutely,” Corsie said. “That’s the feeling in the team. Everybody is really disappointed about how they played individually against Iceland. We need to be – and we will be – better. That starts in Minsk. It’s down to individuals taking responsibility for themselves.

“You need to win your one-on-one battles and we didn’t do that against Iceland, especially in the penalty box where the game is won and lost.”