Kieran Tierney urges Scott Brown to carry on for Scotland

Kieran Tierney is desperately hoping that skipper Scott Brown will not retire from the national team for a second time after the World Cup dream was re-awakened in Sunday's vital victory over Slovenia at Hampden.
Kieran Tierney played a starring role in the 1-0 win over Slovenia. Picture: SNS.Kieran Tierney played a starring role in the 1-0 win over Slovenia. Picture: SNS.
Kieran Tierney played a starring role in the 1-0 win over Slovenia. Picture: SNS.

It is no secret that Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers would undoubtedly prefer Brown to have a break this summer to come back fully refreshed for the Champions League qualifiers that begin on 11-12 July in the quest to reach the hugely lucrative group phase.

However, Scotland’s next qualifier is, of course, the small matter of England in Glasgow on 10 June and an already glamorous fixture now has added 
significance with Scotland’s hopes of reaching Russia next summer alive again.

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Brown announced his international retirement in the summer of 2016 but was convinced by Gordon Strachan to return for the last meeting with the Auld Enemy, which was lost 3-0 at Wembley in November last year.

He led the nation again on Sunday night and certainly exuded the body language at the end of someone fully committed to the cause and unlikely to step aside again.

Parkhead team-mate Tierney certainly hopes that’s the case after enhancing his own burgeoning reputation with an accomplished performance at right-back when he is more natural on the other side of defence.

Tierney said: “I hope he doesn’t retire again now. You saw him the other night, he was brilliant again. He was keeping us going, being a real leader and captain.

“The England game is absolutely massive now. It was always a massive game. But it’s one we are looking forward to. It’s smack bang in the middle of the holidays but I am sure Broony will look forward to it. He’s been absolutely brilliant for me since day one when I was with the under-20s. He’s helped me on the way up, all the way to the Scotland squad.”

Boss Gordon Strachan had hinted in the build-up to the must-win Slovenia game that he would 
utilise one of his left-backs on the right side and Tierney filled the role with great aplomb.

The 20-year-old worked on it all week in training and he got his rewards. Now he would be more than happy to play there again against Gareth Southgate’s side, who are the runaway Group F leaders.

Tierney said: “I don’t know if I’m Scotland’s new right-back. I was asked to do a job in there and I worked hard all night. That’s all I could do.

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“It was good. It’s just defending. It’s a bit harder for me on my weaker side but I worked hard all week in training to get used to it.

“The gaffer and the coaching staff were giving me a lot of tips and pointers all week. 
It’s not completely natural as you’re on the opposite side but, hopefully, I did my bit for the team.

“The manager spoke to me in training and he wanted me to go over to the right side so I’d get used to it. Hopefully, I did well.

“It was a good battle. That’s what you want. It was a competitive match and a huge game for both teams.

“It gives us a great confidence going in to the next game and, hopefully, we can show the same spirit. We always have the belief. Going in to the Slovenia game we had a lot of pressure on us but I thought we dealt with it.

“It wasn’t really a 1-0 game with a last-minute winner. I thought we were the better side for the 90 minutes.

“I’m glad we got the win for the manager. The gaffer’s been brilliant and I have a lot to thank him for. He’s trusted me at a young age, and he trusted me again on Sunday to play out of position.”

Tierney’s positional switch mirrors Celtic legend Danny McGrain, pictured left, who regularly moved from right back to left back in the early 1970s. It was particularly prevalent in the 1974 World Cup Finals when Rangers rival Sandy Jardine played on the right and McGrain comfortably played on the left as, under 
Willie Ormond, the Scots competed in their first major tournament after a 16-year gap.

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Tierney will get some insight this week from McGrain, who is on the coaching staff at the Celtic training centre and has already been a great help to the youngster in his development.

He added: “I’ve not really had a chance to speak to Danny about it yet but I’m sure he’ll have a few things to tell me when I get back to Lennoxtown. “It doesn’t really matter where I play, whether it’s left or right back or in 
midfield. I’ll just do my best.”