MALKY Mackay might not have a long-term future as Scotland manager after it was confirmed a few hours before kick-off that he will not be considered as a permanent replacement for Gordon Strachan.

It is entirely possible, though, that several of those he handed run-outs to last night will become permanent fixtures with the national team in seasons to come. There were certainly enough players involved with lengthy international careers potentially ahead of them.

Craig Gordon (34), Christophe Berra (32) and Charlie Mulgrew (31), who came on at the start of the second half, were very much the elder statesmen here.

Ryan Christie (22), Ryan Jack (25) and Callum McGregor (24) made their debuts, Andy Robertson (23), Kieran Tierney (20), Kenny McLean (25) and John McGinn (23) all started while Ryan Fraser (23) and Jason Cummings (22) came on as substitutes.

Read more: Malky Mackay: I had no idea SFA chief would rule me out of the running for Scotland job BEFORE Netherlands clash​

Yes, many of those involved were only given their opportunity due to more established players like Darren Fletcher, Chris Martin, James McArthur and James Morrison being rested after a long and ultimately unsuccessful bid to reach the Russia 2018 finals and Stuart Armstrong, Scott Brown and Leigh Griffiths being injured. They may not feature when competitive football resumes next year.

But Christie, McGinn and McGregor, aside from a mistake which cost his side the only goal of the game, impressed while Jack and McLean did nothing to suggest they will be out of their depth at this level. These occasions are always flat and forgettable affairs. But there was certainly much on show to be encouraged about going forward.

The Dutch, led by the former Rangers manager Dick Advocaat, are a pale imitation of the great side they once were, but they could still field the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Daley Blind, Kevin Strootman, Georginio Wijnaldum and Depay Memphis.

Containing the Netherlands for long periods and cutting them open at the back on occasion were certainly reasons to be optimistic. The narrow defeat was harsh on Scotland given how well they acquitted themselves throughout the 90 minutes.

Tierney has deputised for Brown as Celtic captain before this season and as expected handled the responsibility of being Scotland skipper with aplomb. That is even though he was the youngest player to perform the role since Darren Fletcher donned the armband in a friendly against Estonia back in 2004.

Read more: Malky Mackay: I had no idea SFA chief would rule me out of the running for Scotland job BEFORE Netherlands clash​

Seeing how he fared at centre half, which has been a problem position for Scotland for some considerable time now, was of far greater interest. He played on the left side of a three man rearguard in the Russia 2018 qualifier against England back in June and fared admirably. But this was the first time he had started there in a back four.

The left back showed why Brendan Rodgers is convinced he has many of the attributes needed to play at centre half. He strolled through the game. The only occasion he looked in any discomfort was when he was head butted by Berra as he challenged for an aerial ball inside his area.

He got upfield whenever play allowed and went very close to netting in the 34th minute after unleashing a powerful low drive from the edge of the Dutch penalty box. Cillessen did well to deny him. His latest polished individual showing augurs well for his country.

Mackay started in the 4-2-3-1 formation which Strachan usually favoured with McGinn and McLean operating as the deep-lying midfielders, McGregor playing just off lone striker Matt Phillips in attack and Christie wide left and Forrest on the right. It proved to their liking.

Forrest had a goal-bound shot blocked by Nathan Ake and Phillips forced a save from Jasper Cillessen after running onto a defence-splitting long ball from Tierney early on. The home team were untroubled by their famous opponents.

The opening goal five minutes before half-time came as a result of an underhit McGregor pass in the final third of the park. The Netherlands broke quickly upfield and Memphis had little difficulty netting after Ryan Babel squared the ball across the Scotland goal. 

Read more: Malky Mackay: I had no idea SFA chief would rule me out of the running for Scotland job BEFORE Netherlands clash​

Mulgrew replaced Berra at the start of the second half – no doubt to see how he gelled with Tierney at centre half – and the home team continued to impress.

Jack, returning to Pittodrie for the first time since leaving Aberdeen for their bitter rivals Rangers in the summer, was booed by a section of the 17,833-strong crowd on occasion when he got on the ball. But he was his usual assured self despite the less than warm reception he got from some.

McGregor went close to atoning for his earlier error when he tested Cillessen with a long-range shot in the 68th minute. Fraser, who came on for Forrest, also shot just past the post after controlling a Tierney pass brilliantly and cutting inside.

Phillips, the West Brom winger, was ineffectual up front. It was a shame that Jason Cummings was only brought on with a few minutes remaining. It was also a pity that the national team did not manage to go through 2017 undefeated. But this was, despite the final outcome, a heartening evening for Scotland.