“That was the best forward pack Australia had and the best nine and 10 - we can compete with anyone”
Scott JohnsonScotland's interim head coach
Greig Laidlaw struck five penalties to keep the hosts in touch, although some errant kicking from Christian Leali'ifano made the task easier.
The home side squandered one glaring chance to score a try in the closing minutes of the first half, with Sean Maitland finishing a fantastic break with a pass to Sean Lamont that was just a fraction behind the winger and his stuttering steps to collect the ball allowed Folau to engulf him five metres short of the line.
Full-back Maitland was one of the home players to catch the eye, along with starting locks Grant Gilchrist and Jim Hamilton, who was winning his 50th cap.
"We could have won it," Johnson told BBC Radio Scotland. "Whether we should have is another thing.
"We had our chances and I think we showed great resolve. Not great execution but great resolve and I'm pretty proud of the effort.
"What I liked about that is that we had immature players acting reasonably mature and showed an abrasiveness which shows we are going to get the right people on the pitch - whether it's right now or in 12 months' time."
Sick of being good losers - Johnson
Johnson has long stressed that the autumn Tests were more about giving players game time at the highest level than results but he believes Scotland are currently in good shape.
Asked about his hopes for next year, the Australian replied: "Six Nations? Oh, we'll compete.
"We're building a squad for the World Cup and right now I couldn't buy the experience some of those boys got.
"I've got two locks who have played two games of Test footy out there [Gilchrist and replacement Jonny Gray] and in 24 months they are going to be talked about.
"We're building. We've got to do it now. But we have proven that we can compete up against the best.
"That was the best forward pack Australia had and the best nine and 10 - we can compete with anyone."
Australia coach Ewen McKenzie was relieved to get the job done with two good tries in the face of snarling opposition, although he admitted there is room for improvement.
"I'm obviously happy with the outcome," he said. "It's pretty hard to come here and play - they'll be greedy and put pressure on. We made mistakes and didn't take the penalties when we got them.
"We were up up against it but we came through. We lacked discipline during a couple of moments in the first half when they came back into it and although we got the try, we didn't push on.
"We were struggling to get one win in a row [earlier this year], we got two in a row last week and now another one. It's a different challenge next week against Wales."
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