Scotland boss Gordon Strachan admitted his side were second best despite beating Norway in Molde on Tuesday night.
The Dark Blues were outplayed for much of the friendly encounter at the Aker Stadion but came up with another confidence-boosting victory when Scott Brown struck the game’s only goal after 61 minutes.
But Strachan admitted his team had failed to match the standards of the hosts.
He said: “I thought Norway were the better team. They played a lot more combination passes than we did.
“They were old fashioned in the first 20 minutes in that they made us turn with their two strikers and chased us into corners.
“That kind of spooked us a wee bit and looking back, we should be able to do that ourselves. We will learn from that
“We wanted to play but because Norway were so good at making us go back the way, we couldn’t get going.
“Our work rate was great but it was desperation, because we had to work that hard.”
Celtic midfielder Brown’s night was not without controversy as he appeared to kick out at former Southampton defender Vegard Forren midway through the first half in an incident reminiscent of the one involving Barcelona superstar Neymar, which cost him a three-match Champions League ban.
But that flashpoint was soon overtaken by his match-winning strike.
Goalkeeper David Marshall pulled off a string of saves to keep the scores level – stopping brilliantly from Barnsley striker Marcus Pedersen 10 minutes after the break – before Brown lashed home a low drive that beat home stopper Orjan Nyland to the bottom corner.
However, Strachan admitted it was not a display he enjoyed.
He said: “I wouldn’t like to see David having to do so much in future. He’s had to make a couple of great saves.
“David was terrific. [Our clean sheet] was a combination of good defending and good goalkeeping as well as some unfortunate finishing on the Norwegian side.
“But the lads seem happy within each other to dig out a result when it wasn’t going for them.
“From my point of view, I didn’t really enjoy it as a spectacle.”
Strachan made five changes to his side but did not hand Kris Boyd an international return after three years out as the Kilmarnock striker sat out the match on the bench.
The former Celtic boss lined his side up in a 4-3-3 formation but switched them back to a midfield four after just 25 minutes as the Norwegians overran the visitors in the middle of the park.
The manager admitted his original ploy did not work this time but he may return to it in the future.
“We will try again because I do believe it can work,” Strachan said. “However, the system we fall back on seems to be more reliant.
“Any system, if you can’t pass the ball, you will struggle. But the reason we didn’t pass the ball was because we got isolated from each other.
“If you want it to work, you need to have three or four lads together. But it was maximum two together and we’ve never done that before. It was very strange but we will learn from that.”