England have claimed four points thus far but it was the hard-working, perfectly-disciplined Scots – exemplified by Chelsea’s tireless Billy Gilmour – who headed back north claiming a moral victory seen by a British record TV audience for the year of 20m.
The pity for Steve Clarke and his men is that such victories do not carry points of their own and thus they must defeat 2018 World Cup runners-up Croatia in the group’s concluding matchday on Tuesday.
Yet England were closest to first blood when John Stones advanced to head Mason Mount’s right-wing corner against keeper David Marshall’s left-hand post.
The pace never dipped as England sought to progress with webs of inter-passing which the Scots resisted with sheer effort and determination.
Harry Kane was flagged offside as he delivered a diving header but Scotland illustrated their potency on the break as a Stephen O’Donnell drive drew a one-handed save from the diving Jordan Pickford.
Che Adams, surprised as the ball looped back up, popped his reflective header wide.
Scotland forced corners on left and right as they harried and hastled their way to the halftime whistle.
England awoke briefly from their lethargy at the start of the second half. Marshall saved alertly from Mount, Phil Foden was narrowly off target and a long spell of England possession ended when Reece James shot a Kane cross just over the bar.
England tried to step up the pressure but always managed to leave themselves looking vulnerable to Scottish pace on the break with James heading off the goal-line from Lyndon Dykes.
Manager Gareth Southgate threw on Jack Grealish and Marcus Rashford but all to no avail and, in any case, England deserved no better than one point – if that.
England: Pickford – James, Stones, Mings, Shaw – Rice, Phillips – Foden (Grealish 63), Mount, Sterling – Kane (Rashford 74)
Scotland: Marshall – McTominay, Hanley, Tierney – O’Donnell, McGinn, Gilmour (Armstrong 76), McGregor, Robertson – Dykes, Adams (Nisbet 86).
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz (Spa).