Andy Robinson has resigned as Scotland coach after a 21-15 home humbling by Tonga extended a poor run of results.
The former England coach took over in 2009 but after steadying the ship, the lack of top-class rugby talent in Scotland hampered his hopes of real improvement.
''I believe I have left the team in a better position than when I took over and have great confidence in the players and the coaches for the future,'' he said in a statement on Sunday.
''I am very disappointed by our recent results but I have belief in the players to develop into a winning team.''
Scottish rugby said they would begin the search for a coach immediately but their chances of recruiting a world class leader could be hit by team's lowly standing.
They finished bottom of the Six Nations table in March with no points and are ranked 10th in the world by the International Rugby Board, one below Samoa.
Scottish Rugby Chief Executive Mark Dodson hinted Robinson would have been pushed if he had not jumped.
'Following the sequence of recent results during the EMC Autumn Tests a change in Head Coach is required to take the team forward and build towards the Rugby World Cup in 2015,'' he said.
''I have passed on to Andy Scottish Rugby's thanks for his hard work and commitment during his term as national coach.''
Scotland, who had stunned Australia 9-6 away in June before beating Fiji and Samoa, were routed by world champions New Zealand this month and lost 21-10 to South Africa.
However, Saturday's defeat in Aberdeen, where second-half tries by Tukulua Lokotui and Fetu'u Vainikolo earned Tonga a famous victory, has cost Robinson dear after he described the performance as ''totally unacceptable''.
He won only nine of 22 matches as England coach between 2004 and 2006 having taken over from World Cup-winning boss Clive Woodward but caught Scotland's eye after a subsequent successful stint at club side Edinburgh.