Caretaker coach Scott Johnson says Scotland cannot accept half-measures if they are to shake off their tag as international rugby's nearly men.
The Australian put up a staunch defence of his players' guts and determination after they went down 23-16 to France in Paris as they closed out their Six Nations campaign with a third defeat from five games.
Despite their disappointment in the French capital, they finished the tournament tied for third place with Italy on four points.
But Johnson believes the side could have done better had they been tighter in certain key areas.
The defence was the one department he could not fault as Scotland held firm for 66 minutes on Saturday night before fatigue set in to allow Wesley Fofana and Maxime Medard to strike twice within four minutes and put the French on course for victory.
However, Johnson is worried the progress that has seen Scotland recover admirably from last year's wooden spoon humiliation may be erased if continued demands for high standards are not maintained.
He said: "We defended really well tonight - I thought we were great in our resolve. But we let ourselves down in other areas.
"However, I asked the guys at the start of the tournament not to send me out to defend the indefensible. But that never happened. They never put me in that position.
"From a progress point of view, I look at some things and say 'Gee that is fantastic' and then the next day I am disappointed.
"I was really, really proud of our defence tonight. That was superb. But we let ourselves down in some of our kick-return stuff. We dropped a lot of balls and put ourselves under pressure.
"So there has been progress but like all things, it doesn't improve as quick as you'd like.
"But we have got to get rid of this tag that near enough is good enough. We've got to take our opportunities to put teams to bed."
As to whether interim head coach Johnson will be the man who will take Scotland forward, question marks still remain.
"I've said from day one I will sit down with the appropriate people after the tournament and we will work it out," he said when asked about his future. "We will have a proper discussion, man to man."
Heavy showers poured down on the teams during a frantic first half strewn with handling errors.
But skipper Kelly Brown refused to make excuses for the Scotland side after dropping the ball at crucial moments.
He said: "There is no doubt that the ball was very slippery. But we are from Scotland, we are more than used to playing with a slippery ball.
"It was a factor but I know all the guys have the skills that mean nine times out of 10, they would catch those balls."
France boss Philippe Saint-Andre had been under pressure after his side lost their first three games of the championship, with their best result before Scotland's visit a 13-13 draw with Ireland.
His side conceded a late try to Tim Visser but their earlier scores and nine points from the influential fly-half Frederic Michalak before he was carried off with a shoulder injury secured their long-awaited victory.
The win means they finished tied with Ireland on three points yet sit bottom of the table on points difference.
Saint-Andre said: "It was a difficult match but it had been a reflection of where we had been in the tournament this year.
"We made many opportunities in the first half but we were not patient enough.
"In the second half we scored two great tries but we are still last in the tournament and we have to accept that."
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