The Scots wasted several opportunities in attack as they crashed to a first home loss in the Six Nations since 2016.
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.
Ireland led 12-10 at half-time despite spending much of the first half in their 22.
"I'll be fine if I have to go back to Racing and play during the Championship's week off".More news: Georgiev’s 55 saves to help Rangers end Maple Leafs win streak
Ireland, however, showed grit and superb game management to just about keep themselves ahead on the scoreboard and then edged out of touch as Scotland's performance disintegrated in the second half.
Scotland's captain Laidlaw expressed frustration with referee Romain Poite in a pitchside interview after the final whistle. They restricted Scotland to an interception try and conjured two of their own, the second coming from Schmidt's set-piece playbook that saw Jonathan Sexton, in virtually the fly-half's final act before leaving the field with ankle and head injuries, committing the defence and freeing the wing Jacob Stockdale on halfway. I thought with the pressure we put on Ireland's kicks, we won those battles.
'We'd ideally like to play better and with more fluidity, and probably get on the front foot more, ' said Best.
"We'll take a lot of confidence in how we defended (against Ireland), the effort we put into the game, how we attacked against an excellent defence, but we have to be accurate and that will be the big focus for us over the next two weeks".More news: Number of measles cases climbs to more than 4300 - DOH
Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw admitted their second-half errors cost them the game, saying, "We released the pressure valve". 'There was one in particular.
But Scotland, who have been revitalized nearly beyond recognition in recent years, had the world No. 2 side on the back foot for much of the first half, especially when their exciting backs got on the ball and unleashed their renowned passing game.
Ireland would always punish such sloppiness more ruthlessly and Japan's coaching team will have noticed how decisively they capitalized on Scotland's lack of discipline and accuracy in the second half. It should have been play-on. We asked for a reaction and by and large we got that. We should be able to fix those in France. The talismanic full-back trudged off in the first half of Saturday's match nursing a shoulder injury.
"He's very sore", said Scotland coach Gregor Townsend. 'He wanted to stay on but his shoulder was not right. We'll see what will happen over the next couple of days.More news: EPL: Pogba breaks record with brace against Fulham