Scotland have reached the World Cup play-offs after beating Moldova 2-0 to ensure they will be runners-up in their qualification group.
The win means the Scots can’t be caught in second place and, with Denmark winning Group F, puts Steve Clarke’s side in next year’s play-off semi-final and two games from the World Cup.
Nathan Patterson and Che Adams scored the goals that earned the win but Craig Gordon saved a late penalty to avoid a nervous conclusion.
Ahead of the match, Clarke had to deal with injuries and suspensions that altered his plans for a crucial match, but he named an experienced side in Chisinau, confident they would get the result needed.
There was almost a dream start when Che Adams put the ball in the net after three minutes but the striker was a fraction offside. Moldova showed an early threat immediately after, with captain Radu Ginsari dragging a shot wide of the left post.
Stuart Armstrong and Billy Gilmour were both denied by Stanislav Namasco as Scotland made a positive start.
The visitors took control of possession for the most part and created openings without managing to get the early goal they wanted. Armstrong forced another save before a bursting run from Andy Robertson ended with him stinging the keeper’s palms with a shot.
After a spell of one-way traffic, Scotland were nearly caught out in the 22nd minute when a swinging cross was met by Artur Ionita and Gordon sprang into action to force the ball over the bar.
Scotland got the goal they needed seven minutes before half-time. The ball was worked to John McGinn on the edge of the area and the midfielder held it up before feeding the onrushing Patterson, who fired in a low, accurate left-foot shot that found the back of the net.
After the break, Scotland went hunting for the second goal that would take some nerves out of the occasion. Adams, who had opportunities in the first half, collected another from a clever pass from McGinn but couldn’t make the most of it. Armstrong then had another shot blocked as Moldova were pinned back.
Scotland doubled their lead after 65 minutes and it was Adams who got the goal. McGinn and Patterson linked up again on the right and the wing-back’s cross was perfectly judged for Adams to volley home.
Cooper had a chance cleared off the line from a corner, then Adams put the ball in the net only to be flagged for offside again.
Gilmour, who pulled the strings in midfield all night, flashed a shot past the post as Scotland kept up the pressure, before Clarke brought on Kevin Nisbet for Armstrong to freshen up the attack.
Scotland wanted to avoid any worrying moments, but with ten minutes to go Moldova were awarded a penalty after Patterson handled in the box.
Vadim Rata stepped up but Gordon made a brilliant save to deny the midfielder and Kieran Tierney raced in to stop the Moldovan from netting the rebound.
Jacob Brown was brought on for his debut in the closing minutes as Scotland saw out time to ensure the win, three points and a chance to reach next year’s World Cup finals.