Captain Grant Gilchrist admitted Scotland had been blown away by a superior force in the 55-6 defeat to South Africa but maintained that the experience would pay dividends for a side packed with youngsters.
The tourists went into the game seeking to extend their run of victories in America, Canada and Argentina, but Vern Cotter's men were no match for the hosts, who ran in eight tries in a dominant display in Port Elizabeth.
Gilchrist believes it all went wrong from the kick-off, and he said: "It was a tough game. We had a poor start and that is not what we wanted against South Africa.
"We knew it would be tough but we started slowly and that did not help our cause. As the half went on we got better but it is disappointing.
"We prepared all week to go flying into them and did not go out there fearing anyone, we came out as a young squad aiming to prove ourselves.
"There were a lot of guys given an opportunity to do our best. Every time we pull on the jersey we aim to do it proud. We are bitterly disappointed with the result but there were aspects out there with the young squad that we can be proud of."
Head coach Cotter was ready to accept a dose of reality that had hit home after wins in the first three games of the tour. This was a step up and he found out that it could not be done with so many youngsters.
"It illustrated a lot of the things we are going to have to go away and work on to become competitive before the Rugby World Cup," he said.
"Honestly, much as we hate losing, especially by a score like that, there are some very positive things to come out of it.
"Adam Ashe played his first game at 20, Grant Gilchrist has come in as captain and done exceptionally well. I think all the players have done well.
'If we take away what we gave South Africa and add more of what we tried to develop on the field, then we can improve.
"We have to keep doing the good things and take away the bad stuff we didn't do well. If we don't offer as many opportunities to the opposition as we did today then we can shift in the right direction."
Cotter added: "It was a brave effort, the guys never gave up, now it is a question of channelling energy and decision-making in the right way."
South Africa, by contrast, were delighted with their performance, particularly the ruthless streak they showed when scoring chances arrived.
Coach Heyneke Meyer said: "I am very, very proud of the guys.
"The message we had given the guys was that we had to come back from last weekend (when they edged Wales 31-30).
"Though we made the mistakes, sometimes we played some awesome rugby. The Scots kept on firing but we held them out."