Scotland are already playing catch-up in their 2014 World Cup qualification campaign after drawing 0-0 against Serbia in their opening Group A game at Hampden.
The home side certainly had their chances in a wide-open encounter but Scotland keeper Allan McGregor had to make vital saves.
With Group A favourites Belgium seeing off Wales 2-0 in Cardiff and Croatia beating Macedonia 1-0 in Zagreb on Friday night, three points at home to Macedonia on Tuesday night are surely a must if Craig Levein's side are to reach Brazil in two years' time.
There could be no faulting the effort of the Scotland side who had Huddersfield left-back Paul Dixon making his debut in the absence of the injured Danny Fox. Gary Caldwell captained the side in his 50th appearance.
There were several familiar names in the Serbia side including captain and Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic and Manchester City full-back Aleksandar Kolarov, while the English champions' new £12million signing, Matija Nastasic, also played.
The first real piece of action came in the eighth minute when McGregor made a fine save down at his right-hand post from Kolarov's 25-yard free-kick. Scotland soon began to exert some pressure and in the 23rd minute Robert Snodgrass raced on to Charlie Adam's free-kick before forcing Vladimir Stojkovic in to a decent save.
There was then little in the way of penalty box action at either end until four minutes from the break when Adam capitalised on some slack Serbian defending to send Kenny Miller through but he screwed his attempted cross just over the bar.
In the 51st minute another Scottish half-chance went begging when defender Christophe Berra headed a Snodgrass corner from the right wide of the target. Serbia midfielder Aleksandar Ignjovski then flashed a right-footed drive from 25 yards past McGregor's left-hand post before Kolarov's low drive sped past the far post by inches.
Four minutes later the home side created and missed their best chance of the game. With the Serbia defence far too square, Caldwell sent Steven Naismith through with a perfectly-weighted pass but the Everton striker's shot from 10 yards beat Stojkovic but bounced past the post.
In the 80th minute, in a double substitution, Jamie Mackie replaced James Morrison and Jordan Rhodes replaced Miller, to a huge cheer. The final stages were fraught with McGregor making a crucial save from Serbia substitute Dusan Tadic, before Stojkovic blocked substitute James Forrest's angled drive at the other end.