The Hearts star who is the perfect solution to the unthinkable Scotland-Kieran Tierney dilemma

In Stephen Kingsley, Hearts have the ready-made replacement for Kieran Tierney if the Arsenal star misses Scotland's World Cup play-off encounter with Ukraine.

The former Celtic star underwent surgery on a knee injury which will keep him out for the remainder of the season.

He delivered an update confirming the surgery went well but he is viewed as touch-and-go for the Scotland game.

Sign up to our Football newsletter

Tierney has proven himself to be one of the most important, if not the most important player to Steve Clarke, helping the back three function so well from his left-sided centre-back position.

Stephen Kingsley has been in hugely impressive form for Hearts this season. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

Kingsley may be the closest player to a like-for-like change after impressing in the same role in the same system for much of the season for Hearts. He’s even demonstrated his ability as a centre-back in a back four.

The 27-year-old is strong in the air, composed in possession and from the left of a back three is very able at bringing the ball out of defence or providing over and under-lapping runs, working in tandem with the left wing-back, akin to that relationship between Tierney and Andy Robertson.

In addition, he’s the top scoring defender in the Premiership, alongside Rangers’ James Tavernier, after notching his sixth goal in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Hibs.

“It’s something I’ve not focused on too much,” Kingsley admitted when asked about a Scotland call-uop.

"I just need to focus on doing well with Hearts, if that leads to a call-up then we’ll take it from there. I’ve kept that mentality all season that I’ll focus on here so whatever happens outwith here happens and I feel I’ve done quite well this season, so I’m going to stick with that.

Hearts team-mate Craig Gordon is a key member of Steve Clarke's squad, while Craig Halkett was a recent call-up, showing the pathway is there.

“Halkett’s is deserved, absolutely deserved,” Kingsley, who has one Scotland cap to his name, said.

"There’s been boys that have done very well and have deserved their call-ups and hopefully there’s more to come, but all anyone can do is to just keep focusing on the next game and if that results in a call-up then brilliant.”

Read More

Read More
Hearts v Hibs: The £3m Hampden Park derby is the fixture's second biggest match

Get a year of unlimited access to all The Scotsman's sport coverage without the need for a full subscription. Expert analysis of the biggest games, exclusive interviews, live blogs, transfer news and 70 per cent fewer ads on Scotsman.com - all for less than £1 a week. Subscribe to us today

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.