Gordon Strachan branded his Scotland players "terrific" despite only salvaging a 1-1 draw at home to unfancied Lithuania in the last minute on Saturday.
Scotland wasted numerous chances throughout the Group F clash and saw their visitors take the lead just before the hour mark, as opposing captain Fiodor Cernych capped a well-worked move with a rasping finish.
The hosts did level eventually thanks to James McArthur's header in the 89th minute, but that failed to mask fan discontent as jeers were audible from the stands.
Strachan was rather more buoyant, however, insisting the performance was one of their best in recent memory.
"Second half we played well, really well," he said. "That's the best we've played in a long time and far better than the first half.
"We made more chances than against Malta and I thought it was exciting at times.
"The way the lads dragged themselves back into it after that body blow [the Lithuania goal] was terrific. I congratulated them for that."
Strachan did accept that some individuals will need to improve if they are to pick anything up in Slovakia on Tuesday, but Chris Martin - who saw several chances go begging - was one of those to receive special praise.
"Definitely, definitely [we will need to improve], and it can be done," he added. "We'll shake it up a bit, you can be sure of that.
"There were some good performances, some really brave performances. Chris Martin was outstanding up top, bringing people into the game, Barry Bannan was terrific.
"A lot of good stuff from some individuals. Some others probably want to play better, that's for sure, but their effort and character was good."