Gordon Strachan insists Scotland have a platform on which to build their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign after a battling defeat to Germany.
The Scots held their own for long spells of Sunday's Group D opener in Dortmund before ultimately going down 2-1.
A goal in either half from Thomas Muller proved decisive for the world champions, but the visitors briefly restored parity at 1-1 in the 66th minute when Watford forward Ikechi Anya raced clear to slot past Manuel Neuer.
At that stage, Strachan was even dreaming of a winner, with Steven Naismith having earlier grazed the outside of the post when put clear on goal.
And despite defeat, the Scotland boss took plenty of positives ahead of further tests to come next month against Georgia and Poland.
"We played with freedom in the second half," he told Sky Sports.
"In the first 20 minutes we gave ourselves real problems giving the ball away, which gave them comfortable possession.
"We rectified that and the game became more comfortable for us, particularly in the second half.
"I thought we were going to get a point and I actually thought we were going to win it at one stage.
"We've got no points, we have a performance, but the next game [against Georgia] is a big game.
"We'll look forward to that challenge when that comes around."
Scotland were forced to play out the closing stages with 10 men after Charlie Mulgrew was shown a second yellow card late on for kicking the ball away.
That incident came after Germany defender Erik Durm had escaped with only a caution after hauling back Naismith on the edge of the area, amid some debate as to whether he could have been sent off.
Strachan would not be drawn on the performance of referee Svein Oddvar Moen, though.
"It's not for me to talk about the referee," he added. "That's for the referee's assessor. I'll let other people discuss that."
Meanwhile, goalkeeper David Marshall echoed the sentiments of his manager in bemoaning what he felt was an unlikely missed opportunity.
"I am gutted, really," he said.
"We got ourselves back in the game in the second half. We are disappointed after not taking the chances we've had.
"We were probably the team in the ascendancy at that point [after scoring the equaliser]. We scored the goal and had chances before that."