Danny McGrain knows what is required to be a leader of men. He was a Celtic player for 20 years and a captain of the club for half of his time there.
Consequently, he recognises leadership qualities in others and, with the news that Scott Brown will be sidelined with a knee injury for the foreseeable future, the 68-year-old believes that Kieran Tierney deserves to be awarded the armband, even though he is one of the youngest players in the side.
McGrain is convinced that the full-back possesses a maturity beyond his years and has no doubt that, should manager Brendan Rodgers honour him with the title against RB Leipzig tonight, it would prove a popular choice with the club’s fan base.
“I think Kieran has got the aptitude to lead,” McGrain said. “He’s so keen, so eager and he’s a supporter of the club too.
“Callum McGregor has also been great. He’s played outside left, left midfield, in the centre and all over the park. It depends what you are looking for in a captain.
“Broony is Broony; he’s a one-off. That hole is unfillable but Kieran is the first name I would think of. Broony gave the armband to Mikael Lustig [when he was forced to leave the field during the 4-2 victory over Hibernian] at the weekend but I don’t know if maybe he was just the first person that Broony saw.
“Maybe he just thought that he wasn’t walking all the way over to Tierney on the other side of the pitch.
“Tierney, for me, has got all the ingredients to be a captain, and he’s only 21, which is great. I can’t think of anyone else that would be better, and that’s no disrespect to the other players.
“It’s hard to replace somebody like Broony but I think Kieran has the stature to do that long-term.”
McGrain also argues that a positive outcome for Celtic in Germany tonight could be harmful to Hearts’ prospects in Sunday’s Betfred Cup semi-final between the clubs.
“Celtic have looked back to their best recently and even a draw against Leipzig would be a good result,” he said. “European ties have their own intensity, their own sprinkling of gold dust. Sunday at Murrayfield will be a different thing entirely.
“Hearts are at the top of the table, which is where Celtic have been accustomed to being for years now. We’re now doing the chasing but the fact that they are the leaders should make us more determined to beat them and get to the final of the League Cup.
“Plus, if we knock them out it’ll dent their confidence and that could be a big thing because we play them at home in the league the following weekend.
“When you play the same team again in such a short space of time you always hope that a good result in the first game will help you in the second one and that could be the case here.”
l An Evening With Danny McGrain and Davie Hay is at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on 7 January 2019.