IT is an argument which has been put forward on numerous occasions in recent months as the debate over the future of Hampden has raged.

If Germany, Italy and Spain don’t need one stadium to host their international matches then why on earth do Scotland?

It clearly hasn’t hindered those countries over the years – they have won no fewer than nine World Cups and seven European Championships between them.

Germany have, incredibly, played at no fewer than 43 different venues throughout their history.

The Fritz-Walter Stadion in Kaiserslautern, the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Stuttgart, the Stadion Nurnberg in Nuremburg, the HDI Arena in Hanover and the Volksparkstadion in Hamburg were all used during their successful bid to reach the Russia 2018 finals.

So what, those who would like to see a move away from Hampden have asked, would be the problem staging games at Ibrox, Easter Road, Celtic Park, Murrayfield, Pittodrie and Tynecastle?

The Scottish Football Association are due to decide whether to extend their lease at Hampden after it expires in 2020 imminently and many, including former Scotland boss Gordon Strachan, are hoping they decide against it.

Queen’s Park president Alan Hutchison this week revealed the SFA are not keen to take up the option of another 20-year lease on the existing terms. The governing body currently pay £800,000 a year - with £500,000 going to its own wholly-owned subsidiary Hampden Park Limited to maintain and run the stadium.

Yet, Andreas Hinkel, who has played in showpiece games at the world-famous ground with Celtic, and represented Germany at different venues around his homeland, feels there is no need for the SFA to bring an end to over 100 years of tradition.

Hinkel, now manager at VfB Stuttgart II, feels the reasons for Germany, Italy and Spain moving their games around the country don’t apply in this country.

“The situation in Germany, Spain and Italy is obviously for the national team to play at different stadiums around the country,” he said. “In Germany, it has always been the way it is at the moment, with the team playing all around the country, so that supporters in different areas can see them play.

“But Scotland is a small country in comparison with Germany. People can travel to Glasgow to see the team play relatively easily. That isn’t the case in Germany. How do you get from Hamburg if the game is in Munich? It isn’t easy because the distances involved are different and far greater.”

Hinkel knows all about what playing at Hampden is like - he experienced mixed emotions there as a Celtic player.

He helped Gordon Strachan’s team to lift the League Cup after an epic encounter with their city rivals Rangers went to extra-time in 2009. But little over a year later the defender was on the losing side in the Scottish Cup semi-final as Ross County romped to a famous victory over Neil Lennon’s side.

He was also a member of Rudi Voller’s squad when Germany played a Euro 2004 qualifier against Scotland at the 51,866-capacity venue in 2003 – a game which Berti Vogts’s team drew 1-1 thanks to a second-half Kenny Miller strike cancelling out the first-half header which Fredi Bobic netted.

In addition, the 35-year-old was in the crowd as a supporter at Hampden two years ago when Germany edged out Scotland 3-2 in a thrilling Euro 2016 qualifier and was once again struck by what a fantastic arena it was for international matches.

Hinkel feels it would be wrong for the SFA to end over 100 years of tradition by moving away from Hampden.

The former defender, who experienced the atmosphere of big European nights at Parkhead during his time at Celtic in Champions League games against Arsenal, Manchester United and Villarreal as well as Ibrox in Old Firm games, reckons taking internationals and big cup matches elsewhere wouldn’t be the same.

“I was at Hampden with Germany when I was a very young player who had just broken through into the squad in a Euro 2004 qualifier in Glasgow in 2003,” he said. “Fredi Bobic scored for us, but then Kenny Miller equalised. I remember the atmosphere being unbelievable that day.

“I was back at Hampden again when Germany played against Scotland in a Euro 2016 qualifier a couple of years ago and it hadn’t changed a bit. It was exactly the same. There was a big atmosphere there and we managed to get a good result in what was a great occasion.”

Hinkel added: “I can understand the argument for Scotland doing the same as Germany and moving their games as well as their semi-finals and finals around the country, but I think that would be a shame as the situation there is completely different.

“There is a tradition of playing at Hampden. The same is true in England where they always play at Wembley. That isn’t the case in Germany, Italy and Spain. I think that tradition should be continued.”