There wasn’t a pang of envy from Kieran Tierney this week as he watched his fellow Scotland left-back Andrew Robertson help Liverpool to a Champions League final date with Real Madrid.
Tierney took in the semi-final second leg – Jurgen Klopp’s men prevailed 7-6 on aggregate after losing 4-2 to Roma – with the rest of his Celtic team-mates as they celebrated last weekend’s title win with a week’s R&R in Tenerife. And the 20-year-old, who today lands the Scottish Football Writers’ Association’s young player of the year award for an unprecedented third time, could see his international team-mate’s success as both to be relished and recognised as also good for his own development.
“It was brilliant to see Andy get to the final,” the Celtic defender said. “From where he’s come from it’s just such a great story. He deserves everything he’s getting at the moment. He is playing for one of the biggest clubs on the biggest stage there is and doing so well.
“I’ve been sending him messages throughout Liverpool’s run but I’ve no doubt his phone was going off its nut after Wednesday night so I’ll catch up with him soon.
“I look at Andy and I see an opportunity to learn. We both play the same position but he does things that I can be better at and so it’s great to train with him when we meet up with Scotland.
“I don’t get jealous of him. For a start I just feel happy for him. And, also I’m only 20. He is a few years older than me [at 24] so he has that extra experience. He’s playing at a level I have not reached but I have had some great experiences here at Celtic too. Playing in the Champions League group stages has brought my game on and hopefully we can get there again next season.”
Self-confessed Celtic nut Tierney has heard all the speculation about the possibility that Manchester United will seek to tempt him to be lining up against Robertson in the English Premier League. It doesn’t turn his head.
“It’s happened during most windows since I broke through. It’s good for me,” he said. “If somebody wants to buy you then that means you are doing something right. When big teams are looking at you it’s flattering. It doesn’t bother me or distract me. I’m playing for Celtic so I’m happy. I’m not in any rush at all. I had four years left on my last contract and if I wanted to leave I would have chosen to run that down. Instead, when the club offered me six I was happy to sign.”
Tierney still sees himself as the supporter in a Celtic jersey. Last week he got the opportunity to show that when he jumped into the Green Brigade section and took over the loudhailer to led the singing during the lap of honour that followed the 5-0 mauling of Rangers with which Brendan Rodgers’ men sealed their seventh straight title. A triumph that places them within a Scottish Cup final win over Motherwell away from completing the never-before-achieved back-to-back trebles.
“That was good fun,” he said of jumping into the crowd. “It was a dream for every Celtic fan to win the league in style against our rivals. I think the fans appreciate the fact that I am just a normal Celtic fan. If I wasn’t on the pitch I would be sitting with them and it’s been good for them to see someone like that out there and also interacting with them.
“I did the same thing [with the loud hailer] last year. Everybody crouches down, I’ll make the noises and then they all jump around like mad. It’s great. A few of my pals are in there and it was good to join them at the end of the game.”