Poland’s desperately late equaliser in Thursday’s Euro 2016 qualifier eliminated Scotland from the running in Group D and left Gordon Strachan despondent, but full of pride.
The Bayern Munich star had initially given Poland the lead in the third minute, only for Matt Ritchie and Steven Fletcher to star in a fine comeback with a brilliant goal apiece.
The hosts looked set to be going into the final round of fixtures on Sunday with a chance of securing the play-off spot in Group D, but Lewandowski struck again right at the end.
A long-range free-kick bounced back off the post and the striker was quickest to react, prodding home his 18th goal in nine games for club and country, dealing a crushing blow to Scotland with the last kick of the game.
“You have to hold your hands up and say well done [to Republic of Ireland, who beat Germany to secure at least a third-place finish],” Strachan said.
“We have played against Poland and Ireland and not been beaten. I am hugely disappointed.
“After working hard for a year and at the end of the year for something like that to happen in the last seconds of a game – that’s a year’s work.
“I can’t remember us getting anything lucky. Anything we got has been earned.
“If I’m like the rest of the nation, I am hugely disappointed for the players. The group of lads gave as much as they could give.
“That’s what I see at the moment. I feel a bit sorry for them, to have put so much work in and to have scored two wonderful goals.
“I am proud of them. They have been a bit unfortunate.”