Scotland Under-21s saw their European qualifying hopes well and truly extinguished with a 4-0 defeat by Ukraine.
The Scots’ chances were already looking extremely slim after a 1-0 home defeat by Macedonia on Friday but a comprehensive loss in Kiev saw them slip to fifth place in their Uefa Under-21 Championship group with eight points from eight matches.
Hearts defender John Souttar was sent off in stoppage time of a bad-tempered contest.
Head coach Ricky Sbragia made several changes following the Tynecastle setback. Motherwell’s Chris Cadden made his debut and his club-mate Joe Chalmers also came in, while Swansea striker Oliver McBurnie started in place of Jason Cummings, who dropped to the bench.
Scotland made a bright start and McBurnie, Souttar and Sam Nicholson were all off target, but they fell behind in the 26th minute when Andriy Blyznychenko netted from long range.
Scotland continued to have efforts at goal but Artem Besedin showed them the way with two goals in eight minutes. He drove home from distance in the 69th minute and flicked home Ukraine’s third.
There were four players booked for either side – Ryan Gauld, McBurnie, Chalmers and Cummings for the visitors and Souttar was shown a straight red card after bringing down Andriy Boryachuk inside the box. The fouled player got up and converted the spot-kick to round off Scotland’s misery.
Scotland still have two away games left, against Macedonia and Iceland, next month and can only finish fourth. Northern Ireland sit below them in the table.