James Forrest scored twice as Scotland set up an all-or-nothing Nations League promotion shootout with Israel by dispatching 10-man Albania 4-0 on Saturday.
Alex McLeish's resources were spread thin by nine withdrawals but proceedings were smoother in Shkoder as Forrest struck a brace after Ryan Fraser and Steven Fletcher opened up a two-goal first-half advantage.
Albania captain Mergim Mavraj made the task simpler than it should have been, receiving a red card for headbutting Ryan Christie soon after Fraser's 14th-minute opener.
His team were left bottom of Group 1 in League C, from which Scotland can escape if they beat Israel - 2-1 winners in the reverse fixture - in Glasgow on Tuesday.
Albania's hopes of avoiding a third-place finish, where they are at risk of relegation pending results elsewhere, effectively evaporated in the space of seven minutes.
Fraser first capitalised on Taulant Xhaka's turnover to cut inside and curl into the bottom far corner, before Mavraj followed a poor tackle on Forrest with a costlier moment of ill-discipline.
12 - Ryan Fraser has been directly involved in 12 goals in 16 appearances for club and country combined in 2018-19 (five goals and seven assists). Talent. pic.twitter.com/P06dJtPeBh— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 17, 2018
Scotland posed little threat until Rey Manaj was adjudged to have handled Stuart Armstrong's free-kick, enabling Fletcher to convert his first international goal since September 2016 in first-half stoppage time.
They were cruising within 10 minutes of the restart, Forrest striding onto Christie's through pass and beating Etrit Berisha in a one-on-one.
And the result was given an emphatic look when the Celtic winger made it a double in the 67th minute by taking a touch and firing home all in one fluid motion, taking Scotland level on six points with Israel.
What does it mean? McLeish okay without walking wounded
Robbed of considerable experience with Kieran Tierney, Charlie Mulgrew and Steven Naismith among the men missing, McLeish will take great satisfaction from the no-fuss approach of his unheralded understudies, with new defensive partners Scott McKenna and debutant David Bates particularly accomplished.
Christie showcases international class
He wore Mavraj's headbutt in the first half but Christie's influence extended well beyond that pivotal moment, the Celtic midfielder responsible for creating Fraser's opener with his harrying efforts on Xhaka and later pocketing a second assist for Forrest's first.
Mavraj madness undoes Albania
Mavraj, a 32-year-old with considerable experience on his resume, will have to accept full culpability for this result.
That he had been fortunate not to receive red for lunging in on Forrest moments before headbutting Christie made his indiscretion all the more egregious.
Key Opta Facts
- Scotland recorded their biggest victory in an international game under McLeish, in what was the Scot's 19th game in charge (across two spells).
- Despite having 58 per cent possession in the game, Albania failed to record a shot on target over the course of 90 minutes (Scotland had six).
- Scotland have only lost one of their last nine competitive games (W6 D2), with this the sixth clean sheet that they have kept in this run.
- Fraser has been directly involved in 13 goals in 16 appearances for club and country combined in 2018-19 (five goals and eight assists).
- Forrest scored his first two goals for the senior Scotland team, converting with both of his shots on target in the game.
Scotland will concentrate all of their energy on overcoming Israel at Hampden Park, while Albania will hope for a more positive outing in a home friendly with Wales on Tuesday.
|Foden, Sterling start for Manchester City v Hoffenheim|
|Sky decision will not affect us in 2019, insist Froome and Thomas|
|Al Ain 3 Team Wellington 3 (aet, 4-3 on penalties): Shootout heartbreak for semi-pros in Club World|
|Jackson to remain Ravens´ starting QB despite Flacco return|
|Rams headline 2019 NFL International Series home teams|
|Rams headline International Series home teams for 2019|
|Atlanta want ´exciting football´ from new boss amid Bielsa links|
|Atlanta still yet to receive ´serious´ bid for ´Bale-like´ Almiron|
|Tottenham v Manchester United to be held at Wembley|
|Matip facing six weeks out with fractured collarbone|
|I´ve had quite a lot of calls – Brailsford encouraged by Team Sky interest|
|Afghanistan Football Federation president provisionally banned by FIFA|
|Knee injury rules Huddersfield´s Mooy out of Asian Cup|
|Arnautovic tipped for Man United move by Austria team-mate Sabitzer|
|Arsenal legend Adams to become RFL president|
|My love for football still burns strong – Toure speaks out amid talk of Premier League return|
|Noble contract extended to 2021|
|Split with Sky is an opportunity, says Brailsford|
|Van der Burgh rolls back the years, two more medals for Hosszu|
|Maitland-Niles praises Sterling for speaking out|
|Life is tough for him right now - Celtic striker Griffiths to take time away from football|
|Froome: Team Sky keen to continue with new partner|
|Emery confirms Koscielny to play against Qarabag|
|Llorente keen on Athletic return|
|I love the guy - Pocock backs under-pressure Cheika|
|Fit-again Ozil in line for Arsenal return against Qarabag|
|Raheem Sterling named Premier League Player of the Month|
|Two more Ligue 1 games postponed due to unrest|
|Pace attack among India´s best ever - Arun|
|Premier League has fostered ´excessive aggression´ among fans, says Scudamore|
|Sharks back Flanagan amid NRL investigation|
|Not good for my recovery! Hoddle delights in Spurs´ Champions League heroics|
|Harris backing Starc to fire in Perth|
|No fears over Atleti´s second-place finish for Simeone|
|Clippers buckled under Raptors pressure - Rivers|
|Icardi: Inter deserved to qualify|
|Team Sky future unclear as Sky opt to end involvement in cycling|
|PSG had to change mentality - Thiago Silva|
|Rockets make change, pick up win over Trail Blazers|
|Everything´s easier when you´ve got Messi – Miranda|
|From George Cross to Arsenal – Montemurro´s rise to make Gunners great again|
|Koulibaly challenges Napoli to win Europa League|
|Raptors star Leonard out against Clippers, may miss matchup with Warriors|
|Butler opens up about heated Timberwolves practice|
|Spurs achieved ´mission impossible´, says Pochettino|
|Dembele stunner pleases Barca boss Valverde|
|Van Dijk lauds ´fantastic´ Alisson|
|Van Dijk´s tackle on Mertens worthy of red card – Ancelotti|
|Klopp ´would have paid double´ for Alisson|
|Klopp: I don´t care about Madrid revenge mission|
|Tension and anxiety got to Inter, laments Spalletti|
|Tuchel hails magnificent PSG as Red Star win seals last-16 spot|
|Mbappe admits frank discussions inspired PSG´s Champions League progress|
|Klopp: Napoli had no answers to outstanding Liverpool|
|Pochettino proud of ´massive, massive achievement´ for Spurs|
|Barcelona equal Champions League record|
|Composed and controlled Liverpool see off Napoli to progress|
|Tenerife back to winning ways, AEK beat Hapoel|
|Howedes ´hurt´ after emotional Schalke return ends in defeat|
|Kane ´buzzing´ over ´not bad´ draw at Barcelona|
|Robertson hails Alisson´s ´unbelievable´ save as Liverpool progress|
|Red Star Belgrade 1 Paris Saint-Germain 4: Neymar brilliance helps secure Group C top spot|
|Inter 1 PSV 1: Icardi header not enough for the Nerazzurri|
|Liverpool 1 Napoli 0: Superb Salah sends Reds through|
|Club Brugge 0 Atletico Madrid 0: Simeone´s men miss out on top spot|
|Barcelona 1 Tottenham 1: Lucas rescues Spurs late on to secure progress|
|Monaco 0 Borussia Dortmund 2: Guerreiro double snatches top spot from Atletico|
|Butler´s groin strain ´nothing significant´ – 76ers coach Brown|
|Woakes, Curran among leading lights at IPL auction|
|Blue Jays release five-time All-Star Tulowitzki|