If Kieran Tierney spurns all outside offers for the entire five years he yesterday committed to boyhood team Celtic, the full-back will be chained to the club until he reaches the grand old age of… eh, 24. It is easy forget that Tierney’s rapid rise to the ranking of Scotland’s top young talent has been achieved despite turning 19 only a fortnight ago.
Permanently whirlwind seems to be the pace of change for a youngster who last season became one of Scotland’s youngest debutants after establishing himself as an integral member of Celtic’s senior side. Further evidence of instant dividends Tierney seems adept at reaping is how long it took the club’s new manager Brendan Rodgers to decide the defender’s last deal – a four-year contract signed only ten months ago – needed to be improved upon for a more lucrative and lengthy arrangement. His regard for the teenager was further illustrated in gushing comments about how he is destined to be a “top, top player”.
“The manager spoke to me after the first training session and told me he wanted to tie me up here,” Tierney said. “He told me this is the best place for me to be. And with him managing the club now I’m delighted to be here. I’m still young and developing.
“Hearing that gives you confidence, knowing he likes you already. You just have to try to keep that up. When the season comes, hopefully I’ve done enough for him to pick me. Everybody always raves about the football played under him and how good he is at developing youngsters, so I just hope that happens for me.
“When I first saw him being linked with the job I wasn’t sure what to think. It seemed there was a different favourite every day. When he got it, I was delighted as he’s known for liking youngsters and bringing them on and playing good football. The whole team is delighted.”
Yet, if Mike Bassett had been given the job the chances are Tierney would have committed his future to a club he seems to have lived and breathed his short life. He was tickled by talk of Arsenal and Liverpool having an interest in signing him, but no more than that.
“They are huge clubs and it’s the Premier League, so of course you take a bit of pride in that. But I never thought about leaving it all,” he said. “My mates were winding me up, sending me screenshots of the stories as a joke, but they knew I had no plans to leave.
“You think about the interest but it never crossed my mind to leave. I’m delighted to be here and sign that new contract. The negotiations didn’t take too long at all. Just four days. To get it done that quickly is brilliant. You don’t want to be training for four weeks and talks going on. So to have it sorted this fast is great.”
The future as he eats well into his current contract offers no horizons. He could take heart from the fact that Henrik Larsson was 32 when he left Celtic, yet even then still managed to squeeze in stints with Barcelona and Manchester United. “I don’t know what will happen four or five years down the line,” said Tierney. “Who knows? For me it’s all about Celtic for now. Henrik Larsson might have left here at 32 and still played for Barcelona and Man United but that’s Henrik!”
The left-back, meanwhile, is still just Kieran Tierney from an estate in Muirhouse, Motherwell. He just happens to feature in many more selfies these days. “What I do isn’t different but even just walking about people will come up to you and ask for pictures,” he added. “My life, though, hasn’t changed. I still go out with my friends and play the Playstation. Nothing is different for me.
“When you’re a wee guy you always wanted to play for Celtic and you know the attention is going to come with it, so you don’t mind that at all. I used to do that as a kid, too. If I saw Bobo Balde in Tesco I would be up asking him for a picture!”