It feels as if Kieran Tierney has leapfrogged countless stages of a youngster’s career over the course of this stellar season. What the teenage Celtic left-back hasn’t done in becoming the most lauded prospect in Scotland is bypass the Bullfrog.
So grounded is teetotal Tierney – today named the Scottish football writers’ ECG Facilities Young Player of the Year – his idea of unwinding involves the Playstation, and the pool table with his pals down the pub. The hostelry is The Bullfrog Bar in Motherwell, which is home to a Sunday league team that goes by the same name.
The player, who has no intention of moving out of his mum and dad’s house in Muirhouse as he has “never cooked a dinner and never done a washing”, might have become a drooled-over asset for Celtic and Scotland in the past eight months, but this classic campaign will end with him on the sidelines. In the scheme in Muirhouse, where he remains as at home as he always has done.
“Me and my friends all support the local pub team, The Bullfrog, and I have friends who play for them. Although they are a Sunday League team, they had a lot of games cancelled earlier in the season so they are playing a lot of midweek games just now and I go to them. They are doing well. Do I ever play? No… they’ve tried a few times though. Otherwise, I just do the same things as my friends do. They are doing apprenticeships to become joiners and things like that. They have left school and are working and I just do the same things as them.”
Except let alcohol pass his lips, that is. “I have just never fancied it. I don’t know what will happen down the line but I probably won’t drink during my career. It helps me as a footballer and I can’t see my doing it anytime soon. I celebrated the title with a Chinese. I made sacrifices when I was younger. My mum and dad told me when I was younger that that’s what I had to do. It paid off for me and I’m just hoping I can keep doing it. I knew at 13 that I couldn’t do some things because it would affect Celtic and that’s the club I always wanted to play with, I have always been cautious. My friends realise that and that it’s my best interests.”
Staying at Celtic, what any fan who was a player would want to do, he sees in his best interests. He would “100 per cent” be interested in a five-year contract that has been mooted, and is sceptical about chat that half of the English Premier League are supposed to be tracking him. “Someone’s just written on Twitter ‘he’s linked to this’ but I don’t know how accurate that is,” he said.
After achieving the triple crown of SPFA Scotland young player of the year, the writers’ equivalent and the club’s own such honour, Tierney has much to live up to next season, under a new manager, with a successor to Ronny Deila expected in the next fortnight.
“The second year will be harder. It’s been a tough year but I’ve won a few awards and that increases the expectations. People expect you to do well in every game and it will be hard. I’m still a teenager. Under a new manager it’s a brand new start. I’m still looking at being the young boy so I’ll be the young boy who has to prove himself again.”