The visitors took 54 minutes to score their first try, when winger Josh Adams touched down, having shown a little too much respect to the home side in the first half when starting flyhalf Dan Biggar kicked four penalties.
Gregor Townsend's team had high hopes of making a push for the title this year but Saturday's Murrayfield defeat to Ireland has put them on the back foot. 'In the second half, the execution of our set-piece plays to get us into our game and to put more pressure on Ireland just didn't happen. 'He's sore, very sore, ' said Townsend.
Johnny Sexton suffered a head injury leaving Joey Carbery to run the game for nearly an hour: the Munster star threw an intercept pass for Sam Johnson's try for Scotland, but conjured the winning score for Earls.
Scotland had shown so many positive attributes in the first half, despite a awful mix-up between their wings Tommy Seymour and Sean Maitland that gifted the first try to Conor Murray.
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"Johnny failed an HIA, he just banged his head in the build-up to our second try, he just fell pretty heavily", Schmidt said.
Earls extended the advantage after half-time with Ireland's third try.
The Scots were penalised at the scrum, fumbled on possession and a Russell forward pass all gave Ireland easy outs from their territory but when the champions got into the Scots 22, they looked set to take the game away. Despite matching the team ranked No 2 in the world for long spells, Sam Johnson's first-half try was the only time they managed to breach the Irish defence.
Scotland badly needed some points but turned down a simple three for a quick tap by Russell and the Irish defence swarmed to force a turnover inside their own five metre line. Scottish hooker Stuart McInally denied his team was demoralized to still go in behind, but admitted they were "knackered" in the second half. "We'll need to be at our best if we are to win over there". "We probably should have scored one try more and I'm frustrated that we gifted them a try, but I am very happy with the way we played in the first half, ' said the Scotland head coach. If we're going to progress as a country we're going to have to start winning these games".