Scotland manager George Burley bemoaned his side's luck in losing 4-0 to Norway but thinks they can bounce back to qualify for the World Cup finals.
"Whatever could have gone wrong tonight went wrong," he told BBC Scotland.
"It has been a disastrous result, to lose by four when we were looking to cement our position in second place but we will be in there fighting.
"We lost, but we still have two games left. If we win those, I still feel we can be in the play-offs."
The result means Scotland remain level with Macedonia on seven points but slip from second to third in qualifying Group Nine on goal difference.
With the eight best runners-up from the nine qualification groups progressing to the play-offs (* see note at foot of story), Burley's men almost certainly need to win their remaining two games - a double-header against Macedonia and the Netherlands at Hampden Park - to have any hope of securing a spot.
Scotland play Macedonia on 5 September knowing that defeat would all but end their hopes of reaching South Africa 2010.
Up to the sending-off, I thought we maybe had the better of it as far as chances were concerned
Scotland manager George Burley
A draw would leave them having to beat the already-qualified Dutch on 9 September but by that point Macedonia and Norway, who meet on the same day, could both be above them.
Victory over the Scots lifted Norway off the bottom of the table and revived their own play-off aspirations.
Egil Olsen's side made a woeful start to their campaign, with three draws and two defeats from their opening five matches, but they are now just a point adrift of Scotland and Macedonia.
They play bottom-of-the-group Iceland in Reykjavik on 5 September before hosting Macedonia in Oslo four days later.
"I said before the game that I thought we needed six points to make the play-offs," said Burley.
"So nothing has changed. We have two games left and they are both at home, so we have to pick ourselves up and show the character necessary to get into second place and the play-offs.
"Norway would like to be in our position just now and I have no doubts that we can beat Macedonia at home. Holland was always going to be difficult but they have qualified so I believe we have the players who can win both games.
"If we can't win our two games, we don't deserve to get in the play-offs."
Norway took the lead immediately after Gary Caldwell was sent off after picking up two yellow cards, while fellow central defenders Steven Caldwell and substitute Christophe Berra both had to come off through injury.
"All our problems started with the sending off and then it went from bad to worse," said Burley, who has been in charge of Scotland since January 2008.
"Before the sending off, I thought we more than held our own, we had three half chances and were slightly on top. Then they scored right away and it was a wicked deflection off Scott Brown for the first goal.
"Steven Caldwell was complaining about his groin at half time and we had to then bring him off. We moved Alan Hutton in to the middle and then Christophe Berra, who had come on, picked up a hamstring injury and Steven Whittaker came on, so we had five different defences.
"It was a horrible result but it is gone now. You can't say it was a disaster because we still have a chance.
Burley thought Caldwell was unlucky to receive a second booking, which came after the Celtic defender hauled back John Carew.
"I thought it was very harsh - Carew was pulling Gary and Gary was trying to hold his own," said Burley. "I don't think the referee realised he'd booked Gary, the Norwegian players said he'd already been booked.
"If the referee had realised he had already booked him before, he wouldn't have sent him off."
And Burley refused to place any blame on stand-in goalkeeper David Marshall, who has now conceded 11 goals in his three international appearances for Scotland.
"I don't think you can fault him for any of the goals," the manager added. "The free-kick at the end, he (Pedersen) whipped it into the top corner and I don't think anyone would have saved that.
"And the other ones were decent finishes, although the first one was fortunate when they got the deflection."
* Group Nine consists of five teams, one less than the other pools. When calculating the best runners-up, therefore, matches played against the sixth-placed finishers in Groups One to Eight will not be taken into consideration.
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