HAMPDEN PARK has had its fair share of criticism over the years, but Saturday night showed why it is the best stadium in Scotland for atmosphere. 

The Israel victory was a special experience for those lucky enough to be inside, but those at home will also have witnessed the rocking noise through their television screens. 

I am quite certain that Scotland would not have won that crucial game against Israel without the backing of the Tartan Army and that showed when the players saluted the crowd at full-time. 

The noise created as Scotland searched for a winner was simply incredible and the full-time renditions of ‘Yes Sir, I Can Boogie’, ‘Freed From Desire’ and ‘Rockin’ All Over The World’ sent shivers down the spine. 

It has been a while since Hampden has been rocking like that. The last time I can remember such an impressive atmosphere was against England back in 2017 when Leigh Griffiths fired home two stunning free kicks. 

As the second hit the back of the net on that day, co-commentator Gary Neville beamed: “I have to say I have not seen a celebration like this in a football ground for a long, long, long time.” 

There was a similar reaction to Saturday’s game with Ally McCoist saying: “It was the best I'd heard the old stadium in honestly about 15 years. It was brilliant, the place was rocking. 

"The place was in uproar, me and Crocks [Ian Crocker] doing the commentary were hugging each other. It was the first time it's been a sell-out at Hampden for, I don't know, years and years? 

"The place, honestly, I'm not kidding you, when the final whistle blew you could feel the stand moving beneath your feet. It was brilliant." 

BBC Sportsound presenter Richard Gordon also weighed in during his live coverage, adding: “The media gantry here is actually bouncing under our feet. 

“The fans in the top tier, just the reverberations, you often feel it move, but I am not sure I have ever felt it move just quite as much. There must be, I don’t know, two or three inch of a give in it.”   

I’ve watched the highlights back on numerous occasions already, but even more so I have observed the countless videos on YouTube of the fan reaction at full-time.  

The Hampden bounce was incredible, and it was exactly what Steve Clarke and his team deserved after being denied their full support for the crucial qualifiers and group stage games of Euro 2020. 

As a member of the Scotland Supporters Club, I have rarely missed an international clash at the national stadium over the past six years. 

I can understand where the critics get their points from. When things are going badly it can be an eery place with a gloomy atmosphere, but are all football stadiums not the same? 

Impressive atmospheres rely hugely upon what is happening on the park and with that said, a winning night for Scotland at Hampden tops it for me. 

I have experienced Champions League nights at both Celtic Park and Ibrox too and again they are special in their own right. Both stadiums are capable of creating a huge noise and again, when the football is going their way, the home support can help their team over the line. 

Ibrox was voted the best stadium in Britain by respected English-based football magazine FourFourTwo last week. 

They claimed: “If you’re looking for the best atmosphere in British football, Glasgow is the place. 

“For the vibrancy, passion and intensity on and off the pitch, nothing on these shores compares to the match day experience at an Old Firm fixture. 

“Few games in the world can equal it – arguably, only Boca Junior versus River Plate [in Argentina].” 

They are right to a certain extent. When Rangers and Celtic meet a different kind of atmosphere is created and it deserves a mention in its own right. 

The noise and hostility is quite something, but for me the togetherness of a Scotland game is something completely different. 

50,000 Scots were inside Hampden on Saturday, and they put their club allegiances to the side to help their team claim a famous comeback victory. 

Thankfully the team battled to gain the three points against the Faroe Islands on Tuesday to ensure the Israel win proved as vital as it felt when Scott McTominay bundled home in stoppage time. 

World Cup qualification is now a real possibility with the play-off spot in Group F almost secured.  

A win over Moldova next month would book our place in a one-legged play-off semi-final, and after witnessing Saturday’s atmosphere, a home tie could definitely prove to be key. 

The play-offs, which will be played in March 2022, will be seeded via qualifying points, and two UEFA Nations League teams will join unseeded. 

Seeded sides will be drawn at home, so currently Scotland look in a good position to hopefully guarantee another Hampden sell-out, if they do indeed secure second spot. 

I never want to look too far ahead, but there will then be an open draw for the three play-off final matches, which will again be one-off games, to determine the final World Cup places. 

There is a long way to go but confidence among the Tartan Army is high and it is brilliant to see some positivity about the national team again.  

Qualification for Euro 2020 was huge, a jaunt to the World Cup in Qatar would be one step better. 

But perhaps Steve Clarke’s biggest achievement as Scotland boss so far, is bringing the Hampden roar back and turning the national stadium into the fortress it once was.