Celtic defender Kieran Tierney refuses to blame plastic pitch for injury

Celtic's Kieran Tierney is back in training and should be fit to face Hamilton on their plastic pitch. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS
Celtic's Kieran Tierney is back in training and should be fit to face Hamilton on their plastic pitch. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS
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Kieran Tierney does not believe Livingston’s artificial pitch played any part in his withdrawal from the Scotland squad for their decisive Uefa Nations League fixtures and insists he has no fears about returning to action on a similar surface at Hamilton Accies tomorrow.

The Celtic full-back was one of nine players to drop out of the matches against Albania and Israel with Scotland manager Alex McLeish, pictured, suggesting his hamstring problem was caused by the pitch at Livingston when the Scottish champions drew 0-0 there on 11 November.

But Tierney, who insists he was prepared to play for Scotland before medical staff ordered him to pull out, feels the injury was simply a consequence of an intense recent sequence of games for his club.

“It was disappointing what happened with Scotland,” said Tierney. “I was training there with the rest of the squad but the hamstring wasn’t the way it should be.

“I said to the management that I was ready to play but the medical people said I had to go for a scan on it. Ultimately it was their decision, along with Celtic’s. It was out of my hands.

“I don’t think it’s the kind of injury where playing on an artificial pitch would be an issue. I think it was a build up of the overload of all the games so far that caused it. I don’t think the one game on artificial made any difference but I don’t know. I’m available again to play at Hamilton, so it’s up to the club to decide if I’m fine.”

Tierney is keen to underline his commitment to the Scotland squad and was thrilled to see his international team-mates win both matches to top their Nations League group and guarantee a place in the Euro 2020 play-offs.

“I wanted to play and everyone is in the same boat,” he added. “They were two massive games and I wanted to be a part of them. So I was gutted but I was delighted for the boys who got the job done. At the end of the day, that’s all that mattered. It’s great to have that play-off to look forward to. The boys dealt with different kinds of pressure in the two games.”

Tierney, 21, added his voice to the chorus of praise which has surrounding his Celtic team-mate James Forrest after the winger scored five goals in the victories against Albania and Israel.

“He was incredible and he deserves all the credit he is getting,” said Tierney. “Ever since I started playing and training with the Celtic first team, he is one of those players you don’t want to come up against. He can go inside, outside – no matter how good a defender you are, you’re going to get a tough time against James Forrest.

“The teams can get mixed up in training at Celtic but it’s always good to challenge 
yourself against him. He’s one of the best players I’ve come up against. There is no downside to his game – his first touch, workrate, effort and defending. He can do everything. 
He’s a great player to have in your team.”