In many ways, this was a case of ‘same old Scotland’.
Early promise, bolstered by lashings of endeavour, plus a plethora of try-scoring opportunities, ultimately rendered fruitless by mistakes and infractions that would always be seized upon by a Wales side steeled by experience and accustomed to victory.
Chances were butchered as an all-too familiar bout of white-line fever overcame those in home ranks whenever they entered the Welsh 22, gripping them to such an extent that their play became impossibly frantic.
The concession of fourteen penalties, a chronic lack of discipline around the ruck, and more missed touches than Eric Pickles in a game of tag-rugby all contributed to Scotland’s self-made downfall.
Refereeing controversies may dominate this morning’s headlines, but although New Zealander Glen Jackson had a Six Nations debut one suspects he’d sooner put behind him, this was a game Vern Cotter’s side should have won regardless of his influence.
The arbiter’s decision not to seek TMO assistance in ruling on Greig Laidlaw and Mark Bennett’s near misses in either half – nor plump for a penalty-try in the case of the latter for a high tackle on Sam Hidalgo-Clyne – left his compatriot quietly seething in the coaches’ box.
And his blowing for full-time as Finn Russell’s conversion of Jon Welsh’s try cleared the bar with four seconds left on the stadium clock incensed most of Murrayfield, anticipating as they were a rousing finale.
Remove them from the equation, however, and you are still left reflecting upon another match Scotland let slip. More talk of what might have been.
And yet there is the sense that for all the resurfacing detractors of old, for all the now-accustomed refrain from the players that they are ‘not far away’ is trotted out anew, this Scottish squad are tantalisingly close to clicking.
Playing with verve and variety, very much the embodiment of Cotter’s rapid-fire, organised chaos philosophy, they are so much braver, meaner and more effective than any assortment mustered under Scott Johnson, Andy Robinson or Frank Hadden.
The Glasgow Warriors trio of Alex Dunbar, Mark Bennett and Stuart Hogg have all made telling breaks, but narrowly lacked the support and ruthlessness to finish them off. These are the fine fissures between a serious tilt at the Six Nations crown and another scrap to avoid the wooden spoon the Scots remain agonisingly short of bridging.
Their belief, though, is plain to see. None among this relatively green brood are particularly prone to plateaus in confidence, nor does the baggage of past failings weigh down upon them, as it has glowered over their more seasoned predecessors.
Even Russell, the softly-spoken pivot with the gentle lisp, whose sleight of hand in attack was marred by poor kicking on Sunday, and an accidental but nonetheless illegal challenge on the airborne Dan Biggar – for which he has, regrettably, been cited when the yellow card Jackson flashed in his direction was both just and sufficient – is not remotely susceptible to mental delicacy.
Losing at the hands of Warren Gatland and co will smart all the more after the Cardiff capitulation of 2014, but it is vital this Scotland side continue to gel and mature – build upon their strong set-piece, eradicate the breakdown misdemeanours and capitalise on the attacking fluency that has not quite reached the requisite standard – if they are to realise their potential, and rid themselves of the painful staples that continue to hold them back.