Scotland were embarrassed once again to heap even more pressure on under-fire coach Steve Clarke.
It was the Tartan Army’s fourth loss on the trot – the first time they have stooped so low since Berti Vogts was in charge in 2004.
After a disastrous start to Euro 2020 qualification, Scotland were already having to bank on a play-off win in March to reach the Finals.
And life got even worse at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow, racking up their heaviest away defeat in a competitive match since losing to Norway in 2009.
It left boss Steve Clarke admitting his alarm at Scotland’s low confidence and how they fell away after Artem Dzyuba’s 57th minute opener.
Clarke said: “We conceded a soft goal, the first goal was soft from the corner. Man-on-man we have to do better.
“From there we quickly found ourselves out of the game, allowed the game to run away from us.
“We have to put it down to fragile confidence, players seem to lose heart very easily, which is unfortunate because we had done okay up to that point.”
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Yet things started well for the Scots in a turgid opening 45 minutes, with David Marshall barely tested.
But giant 6ft 5in striker Dzyuba steered in a smart volley after 57 minutes to open the scoring.
The floodgates then opened – not that they could have done much about the second.
From 22-yards Magomed Ozdoev fired an unstoppable strike into the top corner from 22-yards past the hapless Marshall.
And skipper Dzyuba, 31, bagged his second after 70 minutes, barging Charlie Mulgrew and Michael Devlin aside to prod home Golovin’s cross.
It was the St Petersburg star’s 23rd international goal – the same as the whole Scotland squad have managed between them.
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The Scots barely managed a shot in anger all game, and Golovin smashed home the fourth in the 84th minute.
With San Marino next up at home on Sunday, Clarke has little time to regroup to ensure they don’t humiliate themselves to the 210th ranked team in the world.
The draw for the play-offs is on 22 November – and as things stand, Scotland look likely to face either Bulgaria or Israel.