It really is just rotten luck for Scotland that arguably our two best players, Robertson and Tierney, are both in the same position.
What must be annoying for Celtic fans is that had Andy Robertson not been released for ‘being too small’, an excuse I personally have always hated, then they would have the selection headache between a Champions League finalist at left back and probably the best young player Scotland has produced in the last decade, Kieran Tierney.
This selection headache seems no problem for Alex McLeish, however. The Scotland boss seemingly favours Tierney as a left-sided centre-half in a back three with Robertson at left wingback. Is Kieran Tierney that good, however, that the captain retains his position but he is squished into the side regardless?
It has hints of Scholes, Lampard and Gerrard all being played in the same midfield for the Auld Enemy. That situation where you want to play all your world-class players, even if they may be playing out of position. Tierney is forced in at centre half and whilst he’s competent there, he thrives at a left back role instead.
The boyhood Hoops fan is in high demand, too. Looking south of the border, Bournemouth, Everton, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United are just a handful of the clubs that have supposedly been monitoring KT’s progress. Abroad, last season’s Europa League winners Atletico Madrid have been rumoured to want to bring the 21 year-old to the Spanish capital. Also, Juventus see Tierney as the ideal replacement for Alex Sandro should he depart Turin.
Will he be sold, and for how much?
Then there’s the talk of the transfer fees. These are going astronomical by the fact he’s such a young age and has performed well both domestically and continentally for Celtic. He also already has 10 Scotland caps at the time of writing. The rumours are £30 million or more.
In fact, you need only look at who Celtic have sold down south in recent seasons for a decent price after acquiring them for next to nothing. Southampton have raided Celtic for Fraser Forster, Victor Wanyama, Virgil Van Dijk (before he was sold to Liverpool for a world-record fee for a defender) and Stuart Armstrong in the summer window just gone.
Midfield duo Joe Ledley and Ki Sung-yeung moved on to Crystal Palace and Swansea respectively. Defenders Adam Matthews and Danny Fox signed for Sunderland and Burnley. Gary Hooper also left the club signing for Norwich City. All of these clubs were gracing the top flight at time of purchase, so Celtic have proved time and time again that if money comes calling and the player wants to leave, they can act as a stepping stone for those looking to make a name for themselves down south.
However, in the eyes of the Scottish public, Kieran Tierney’s case is different. He is an elite prospect already at such a young age. He would definitely command a higher transfer fee than any of those players mentioned.
Above all else though, he is a boyhood Celtic fan. He is living his own dream. He has spoken publicly of emulating Tommy Gemmell, a Lisbon Lion no less. The comparisons are striking, with Gemmell also previously plying his trade as a left back and growing up in Wishaw. This was just as a young Tierney also did.
Celtic Through and Through
Some of Tierney’s quotes make for fantastic reading for Celtic fans. “It’s so hard to put into words the love I have for Celtic” and “Some people dream about playing in the Premier League. I dreamed about playing for Celtic,” so he’s adamant himself he’s going nowhere.
With Scott Brown suspended for a Betfred Cup tie against Kilmarnock last season, Tierney believes he lived the dream of every boyhood Celtic supporter, by leading the Hoops out as skipper. Just to cap off the evening, he scored a 40-yard goal of the season contender. In August. The season was just underway and he should have been given the award.
“I think if you asked every Celtic fan in the world if they wanted to be captain then the obvious answer is yes,” said Tierney post-match. “But Broony is here for a good few more years yet.”
“Walking the team out and giving your speech in the huddle is unbelievable, it is every fan’s dream. I have done it and I hope it’s not the last time. It’s a historic club and it’s had some great, great captains.
“Obviously right now is one of the greatest in Scott Brown. I look up to him in every single way. He helps me on and off the pitch every single day and he’s just a total leader.”
What Next for Tierney?
Brendan Rodgers even claiming that the young star “was born to be Celtic captain” after he became the youngest club captain in history that very night.
You just begin to wonder how far Tierney can go. The future is certainly very bright indeed as he’s already established as a full international. The Scotland captain has nicked his position, and yet, he still gets into the side. He’s a potential successor to Scott Brown as Celtic captain and appears to be of interest to some of Europe’s leading clubs. In addition, he is playing at a massive worldwide name in the beautiful game already at just 21 years old. He begins to make you question your own existence…