Shaun Maloney says only a vast improvement in the Scotland side between now and their next World Cup qualifier in March will improve their "bleak" chances of making it to Brazil.
The national team slumped to bottom of Group A on Tuesday night with a 2-0 defeat in Belgium, meaning they have taken just two points from their opening four matches in the competition.
Asked on Scotland's chances, Maloney replied: "To qualify? It is obviously getting bleaker with each defeat.
"It's a massive uphill task for us and the next qualifier isn't until March.
"We just need to vastly improve as a team and look to win the next game."
Scotland rarely troubled their hosts in Brussels, although both Maloney and Kris Commons both tested Thibaut Courtois with first half free-kicks.
The midfielder said: "I think when you lose any match, and particularly one that you play for your country, it is very disappointing.
"Belgium were the better side and it was just unfortunate. We are obviously disappointed that we lost the game.
"The free-kicks were probably our only real chances. The goalkeeper made a great save.
"But our goalkeeper had three or four saves as well from their players. To go in 0-0 at half-time, we were pretty happy with [that].
"I think we played to our game plan. Belgium are a very good team and I think it was probably a fair result. We played as well as we could in parts of the game but 2-0 was probably a fair result."