Kieran Tierney bagged his first goal for his country but Scotland were denied their best winning run in almost a century by a harsh late Poland penalty.
The Arsenal full back headed home in the second half at Hampden in the fundraising friendly and it looked like being the winner until Krzysztof Piatek netted an injury time spot kick.
But the real test is to come in the World Cup semi-final play-off against Ukraine if the match gets the go-ahead in June.
Apart from watching Tierney break his international scoring duck and handed Aaron Hickey a debut, it wasn’t a night when Clarke learned much new – although events 400 miles away means they will face Wales for a place in Qatar if they can see off Ukraine.
Celtic full back Greg Taylor came in for captain Andy Robertson, out with Covid, with John McGinn handed the captain’s armband in the colors of the Ukraine flag.
Nathan Patterson might be rusty with a lack of game time since his move to Everton but it certainly didn’t show.
The full back’s superb touch created space for himself and a bursting run upfield and low shot which was saved by Lukasz Skorupski.
There was a let off at the other end when Bartosz Salamon should have done so much better as he got above Grant Hanley to meet a cross but headed over.
Ryan Christie let fly at the other end but it went over before Che Adams stung the palms of Skorupski with a drilled shot.
The Polish shot-stopper – who plays his club football for Bologna – was the busier of the two keepers and stood firm with a superb double save just before the break.
First he denied Patterson from Callum McGregor’s cross and then punched away Billy Gilmour’s effort from the rebound.
But it was at the other end Gilmour came to the rescue for Scotland in the second half with a sensational goal line clearance to deny Piatek.
Aaron Hickey was thrown on for his debut, aged just 19, as Stephen O’Donnell made his 25th appearance.
And soon after Scotland grabbed the lead with John McGinn swinging in a brilliant free kick from the right and Tierney got in front of the Polish defense to plant a header into the net.
It looked set to be the winner but Craig Gordon was ruled to have brought down Piatek in the box and while TV replays showed there was little contact the Pole dusted himself down and converted.
Here’s three talking points from Hampden.
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Patt will do him good
If Everton fans are scratching their heads as to why Nathan Patterson isn’t getting more of a run out then they will be even more bemused having watched this.
The full back was at his energetic best and it would have helped give him a real boost after his lack of game time.
Patterson’s only appearance for the Toffees so far was 45 minutes in the FA Cup against Boreham Wood when he came off at half time.
But Frank Lampard’s side have been struggling badly and if the Goodison Park boss was watching this then he might just be tempted to give him a chance.
The former Rangers man was up for it from the start with a driving run and shot saved early on and another effort saved just before the break and he later went off with his night’s work done.
No seventh heaven as Scots held to draw…
It might only have been a friendly but the penalty decision was all the more frustrating as it denied Scotland seventh win in a row for the first time since 1927.
But the fact they were so close just shows the incredible momentum built up under Steve Clarke and despite being denied that late win the feel good factor is still very much there with another impressive display against a top. side.
The fact it’s been almost a century since Scotland won so many consecutive matches simply highlights how far they’ve come given they were seconds away from achieving it.
But it’s the play-off game against Ukraine, whenever that takes place, and hopefully a subsequent match against Wales that really matters now as Scotland look to head to their first World Cup in 24 years.
…but charity the real winner
This was a night with nothing really at stake for either side on the park with Scotland’s big game to come in June – maybe – and Poland’s next week when they play their play-off final.
But it showed the power of football as two nations came together in support of war-torn Ukraine who Scotland are due to meet back here in the summer.
Everyone is hoping that is in the case, although Steve Clarke cast doubt on that given the current situation in the country, because the fighting with Russia will likely have stopped.
And huge numbers turned up with £10 being from each ticking going to UNICEF’s humanitarian aid effort in Ukraine.
Both captains wore armbands and the corner flags were in the blue and yellow of the Ukraine flag to show support for everyone affected by the war in Ukraine.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.