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But Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino jinked his way over for the only try of the game late on and Felipe Contepomi’s conversion put Los Pumas ahead.
The loss leaves the Scots now needing to beat England in their final pool game to stand any chance of qualifying for the knockout stages of the tournament, something they have never failed to do at any previous World Cup.
After Amorosino’s score there was still time for Dan Parks to skew a drop-goal attempt wide in the dying seconds but Robinson admitted the damage was already done by then.
“We had complete control of the game but one slip of concentration cost us. First, to lose the restart, then secondly a poor defensive lapse,” he said.
“We played well second half but you've got to finish sides off. One slip-up and it is seven points (to Argentina).
“Credit to them, they were under a lot of pressure but they have fighting spirit. You saw what it meant to them to win this.
“The (Scotland) dressing room is absolutely devastated. One lapse, 30 seconds of concentration, has cost them a Test match.”
Contepomi, restored to the side after missing out on their bonus point win over Romania with bruised ribs, put the South Americans ahead with a 19th minute penalty.
But Scotland were dominant for the most part and Jackson and Paterson slotted over a penalty each to make it 6-3 at the break.
But they failed to put the Argentines completely in their rear-view mirror and Contepomi kept them in touch after the interval before Jackson and Parks dropped goals to seemingly seal the win.
But they hadn’t counted on Amorosino who side-stepped Paterson in the 72nd minute before breaking two more tackles to dive over and break Scotland’s hearts.