It may have been a fortress in the past, but we haven't won at the national stadium since we beat Lithuania in September 2011, with Gordon Strachan's only victory on home soil coming against Estonia at Pittodrie. How can we expect to qualify for tournaments without winning our home games?
Beating a team of Croatia's stature on Tuesday would end that run and confirm to a few people that we are on the right road again. But the big question I would throw out there is this: have we been playing better football and getting better results again because we are playing without pressure? I have said all along that our players have been underachieving because maybe 90% of the squad also featured under the previous regime.
I hope the improved performances that earned us results such as the win in Croatia and the draw in Macedonia did not come about because the players felt free to go out and play because our chances of qualifying for next year's World Cup were gone. We were excellent against Macedonia, but was it a case of "we are out now anyway, so let's go and play"? On balance so far, you would have to say our players haven't handled the pressure games well.
Whatever the reasons for our lack of wins at Hampden, I am not going to pin any blame on the Tartan Army. I have been at just about every game for the last 20 years and the fans still get right behind the team. I can't really remember them giving the players pelters at the end of any of them.
In club football if you were getting the results Scotland have had in recent times the supporters would be giving them the bird, but the Tartan Army really get behind you. When I was playing for Scotland we didn't get great results all the time, but I never felt the fans put you under pressure.
Maybe it is closer to the truth to say that when we're at home we struggle to break down teams who sit in and counter attack so well, or else go a bit gung-ho because the fans demand it of us. At the start of the campaign we ended up having to have a go at Wales in Cardiff because we dropped points in our opening games when, had things gone differently, we could have gone there with four points and looking to make sure we didn't lose while trying to nick something.
A wee bit of tinkering with the formation also seems to have helped. Against Macedonia and Serbia at home we had Gary Caldwell sitting in front of the back four, but when it came to Belgium at home, which was a decent performance even in defeat, we went with six solid players and an attacking front four. They carried that on in Macedonia with Scott Brown and Charlie Mulgrew sitting in. Maybe if we'd had those two sitters from the start of the campaign we might have been closer to qualifying. That kind of set-up seems to suit the players better and means we can go and attack teams without getting caught.
Shaun Maloney is out injured, Steven Whittaker is suspended and Allan McGregor will probably come back in, but the rest of the team more or less picks itself. Lee Wallace should come in for Whittaker if he recovers from injury and James Morrison for Maloney, with Steven Naismith continuing up front.
Another win would keep the momentum going ahead of the start of the next campaign and I do feel we are finding the right formation and personnel. But my enthusiasm is tempered by the fact we have been here before. When the World Cup draw was made I thought we would probably never have a better chance, although I didn't know just how good Belgium were back then.
I wouldn't read too much into our victory in Zagreb in June as Croatia played as if they thought they were already on their holidays. People in Scotland often say things like the opposition didn't fancy it, but it was certainly true that night. They had the cigars out and Mario Mandzukic looked like he had drunk three barrels of beer after winning the Champions League. They will not be like that this time, but I think we are good enough now to get a draw.
IT was sad to see Ian Hart resigning from the Rangers board this week. He is a Rangers man through and through who absolutely lives and breathes the club, and proved it by putting £500,000 into youth development before they went into liquidation.
While it is good news for his charity work that he will have more time to devote to it, it is undoubtedly a loss for Rangers. It has been suggested Ian wanted Ally McCoist sacked as manager, but when I asked him about that he assured me it wasn't the case and his word is good enough for me.