IT seemed harsh that it officially went down with Uefa as a Stephen O’Donnell own goal considering Yuri Zhirkov’s close-range finish might well have been sneaking in. But the Kilmarnock full back accepted full responsibility last night for the goal which may have killed off Scotland’s hopes of automatic qualification for Euro 2020.

No-one knows the roles and responsibilities which Steve Clarke expects from his full backs better than O’Donnell from his time at Kilmarnock, yet the 27-year-old was high and wide almost on half way and would have been best advised to have tucked in narrow when Ryan Fraser squandered possession in a dangerous position on the opposite flank. While he bust a gut to get back, he only succeeded in putting the ball into his own net.

“That was on me,” said O’Donnell. “I thought we had safe possession but I have worked with the manager long enough and I know I need to be inside my man.

“The manager doesn’t need me to be pushing that high up the pitch and I don’t know why I went that high,” he added. “It was still early doors and we didn’t need to be chasing it that early. It is knowing when you stay or go. The manager wants us to stay but I didn’t. There is going to be mistakes but that one is bread and butter and I was punished because I was too high.”

While it shouldn’t be lost in the analysis that Russia were penalty kicks away from beating eventual World Cup winners Croatia for a place in the last four of the global showpiece, O’Donnell was at a loss to explain why Scotland were unable to start the second half on the front foot as they did in the first.

If he keeps his place – Rangers’ Ryan Jack is the only other man capable of providing cover at right back – he is desperate to put things right against Belgium back here on Monday night.

“It is certainly not over but we have made it very hard for ourselves - it makes the Belgium game a must-win,” said O’Donnell. “We need to get something against Belgium and if we can get a win or a draw then we are going away to Russia to win to give us a realistic chance of second. It is a big ask but worst-case scenario we can start building towards the Nations League and being ready for that.”

John McGinn, meanwhile, said he would have traded his first goal for his country for a Scotland victory. The Aston Villa midfielder appeared to have set the national team on course for a famous win when he opened his account for his country in the tenth minute, but the roof caved in to leave us fourth in Group I, six points behind Russia and nine behind leaders Belgium.

“It’s a massive frustration that my goal didn’t count for anything,” said McGinn. “Obviously it’s a special thing for me but I would much rather be sitting here on no goals for Scotland and three points in the bag. If I could turn back the time I would swap it, although I’m still delighted to score.

“We lacked a bit of belief and that’s not acceptable,” added the former St Mirren and Hibs man. “We have got to believe that when we go a goal up in a game, we can go and make it two or three nil. If we don’t do that then we’ll never make any tournaments.

“It was a surprise because of the way we were playing, we were putting Russia under pressure and they were making mistakes. But we ended up going from playing to our strengths to playing in a way that suited them. They were more streetwise than us, they won more second balls and it was disappointing for that to happen. They were a lot better than us and deserved to win the game. It was a game we felt we could win so it’s extremely disappointing we didn’t do that and we deserve the criticism we’ll get.”