STEVE CLARKE has praised his never-say-die Hampden heroes for refusing to accept a draw against Israel, and giving themselves a huge chance of claiming a World Cup play-off spot.

Scott McTominay’s last-gasp goal gave Scotland a massive three points on a night when they fell behind twice, missed a penalty, and still came out with what could prove a crucial three points in their quest to reach Qatar.

Wins against the Faroe Islands on Tuesday night and then Moldova away in November will secure second place in Group F for Clarke’s men, and he couldn’t hide his pride as he took stock at the end of a crazy night at the national stadium.

“The Braveheart stuff is a cliche, but what it shows is this group of players want to do well for their country,” Clarke said.

“It would have been easy for them to feel sorry for themselves at half-time. It would have been easy for them to think it wasn’t going to be their night. But they refused to accept it. They didn’t accept it.

“It was really pleasing for me. People keep saying we can’t score goals. Well, on a night we needed to score three we managed it.

“That’s really important for the development of this group.”

The scenes of celebration at the end of the match as Scotland lapped up the win with the Tartan Army haven’t been witnessed at Hampden for a long time, and Clarke believes the players thoroughly deserved the adulation.

“It’s important for the players to feel that love coming off the terraces,” he said.

“I keep saying, this group of players, every time we get together, every time we got to the pitch, they want to be successful for their country – and they showed that in the second half.”