Substitute Oliver Burke was the late hero as Steve Clarke's Scotland tenure began with a nervy 2-1 win over Cyprus at Hampden Park.
The pressure was already on the home side after losing 3-0 to Kazakhstan in their opening 2020 European Championship qualifier in Astana opener before beating San Marino 2-0 away in the second of their first double-header, which proved insufficient for Alex McLeish to keep his job.
Skipper Andy Robertson, who celebrated Liverpool's Champions League final win over Tottenham in Madrid last Saturday, thundered in a drive in the 61st minute for his first goal of the season only for defender Ioannis Kousoulous to head level in the 87th minute to stun the Tartan Army.
However, Burke, on for debutant Eamonn Brophy in the 73rd minute, headed a Ryan Fraser cross on to the post and followed up the rebound for his first Scotland goal to claim three valuable points
The Scots now have to prepare to face Group I favourites Belgium in Brussels on Tuesday night.
World champions France slumped to a shock 2-0 defeat in Turkey as their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign suffered a blow.
Kaan Ayhan headed the hosts in front and a series of defensive mistakes led to Cengiz Under tucking in the second before half-time.
Turkey's win saw them leapfrog France at the top of Group H, while Johann Berg Gudmundsson's strike gave Iceland a 1-0 home win against Albania and an early Igor Armas goal secured a 1-0 victory for 10-man Moldova at home to Andorra.
Goals from Leroy Sane and Marco Reus in Belarus were enough to give Germany two wins from their two matches so far in Group C.
Willi Orban scored twice as Hungary won 3-1 in Azerbaijan in the group's other match.
Belgium stayed on top of Group I after a routine 3-0 win at home to Kazakhstan through goals from Dries Mertens, Timothy Castagne and Romelu Lukaku.
Artem Dzyuba scored four goals and Michele Cevoli two own goals as Russia thumped San Marino 9-0.
In Group J Italy ran out comfortable 3-0 winners in Greece to make it three wins from three.
Nicolo Barella, Lorenzo Insigne and Leonardo Bonucci were on target in the first half.
Teemu Pukki scored twice as Finland sank Bosnia-Herzegovina 2-0 to move up to second spot, while Armenia were 3-0 winners against Liechtenstein.