JOHN MCGINN'S first-half hat-trick fired Scotland to a first win in five games to dispatch of San Marino 6-0 - lifting some of the gloom surrounding Hampden Park.
Steve Clarke's side had lost four on the bounce prior to this match - with their most recent dire defeat coming 4-0 at the hands of the Russians on Thursday night.
But San Marino proved to be the perfect opponents to stop the rot on a sodden Glasgow evening.
Scotland's midfield trio ran the minnows ragged, with Scott McTominay, Callum McGregor and McGinn all making smart runs into the box.
And three smart close-range finishes from the in-form Aston Villa midfielder saw the Scots go in at the break 3-0 up.
The Tartan Army already know that they cannot finish in the top two of Group I after Thursday's defeat in Moscow.
But Clarke will be hoping to take momentum into March's Nations League playoffs.
And following an early barrage of corners - McGinn got the faintest of touches on a Ryan Christie effort after good work from the Celtic man.
And soon after it was 2-0.
It looked like the danger had passed after McTominay sent his cross straight at San Marino keeper Aldo Simoncini.
But the veteran palmed the ball straight to McGinn who gratefully poked home his second.
And the hat-trick was sealed on the stroke of half-time - finishing smartly on the turn after Stuart Findlay nodded down Christie's corner.
As the rain got worse Scotland kept probing - despite parts of the pitch being scarcely playable with so much water settled on the turf.
The surface was particularly bad on the near side to the dugouts - but thankfully for the Scots French referee Jerome Brisard did not budge on playing the match to its conclusion.
And just past the hour mark there was a special moment for Dundee United striker Lawrence Shankland, when he was on hand to tap home his first international goal after McTominay's shot from range cannoned back off the post.
Moments later Findlay nodded home his first Scotland goal to make it 5-0 after more woeful San Marino marking at a corner.
Substitute Stuart Armstrong curled in a beautiful free-kick in the closing stages to seal a 6-0 rout for Clarke's team.