Kieran Tierney isn’t only not long out of school. Refreshingly, for all the 20-year-old has achieved, the Celtic defender isn’t too cool for it either.
Tierney – now a first-pick Scotland internationalist, £25m-rated prospect and sometime Celtic captain – sounded every inch the wise old head as he reflected dutifully on the fact that a 5-0 mauling of Astana in the Champions League play-off first leg didn’t mean the Kazakhstan return leg on Tuesday is merely a formality.
Even if Wednesday night was his 11th home appearance in Europe, Tierney does not give the impression he will ever become blasé about continental competition. The club’s most emphatic home win in Europe in 15 years will live long in Tierney’s memory.
“I’ve had a few European experiences now but as a 90 minutes that was the one of the best, definitely. [The atmosphere was] crazy. You can’t really prepare for the Celtic Park atmosphere. You think you know what it’s like but it still takes you by surprise. They go up a level every time.
“Last year I played in all the qualifying matches then got injured which meant I missed some of the group stage games which was unfortunate.
“The manager has shown great faith in me. I’m nowhere near the perfect player. Far from it. I’m working hard on all my weaknesses and there are plenty of them.”