An assessment by medical staff tomorrow morning will determine Kieran Tierney’s availability for Saturday’s vital World Cup qualifier at home to England.
The Celtic defender’s presence in the fixture was initially placed in doubt after he had two teeth dislodged when caught in the face by Jayden Stockley’s swinging arm in an incident that forced the 19-year-old off in the early stages of his club’s Scottish Cup final victory against Aberdeen last Saturday.
Tierney has since intimated he will do what is required to make the Hampden encounter, which could involve wearing a gumshield, but Strachan yesterday refused to pre-empt any plans for Tierney ahead of the full-back being examined when the squad gethers.
“What he needs to protect him will be down to the people he’s seeing right now: how to train, when to train, etc,” the Scotland manager said.
“He goes for an assessment at 8:30 on Monday with our doctor and the Celtic doctor and anything they say we will do. We don’t make decisions on people’s fitness. If anyone says anything we don’t change it. We’ve never asked a player to do anything outwith their club agreement.”
Strachan would not appear to anticipate any unwanted news with Tierney, but believes an unwanted bump is inevitable for the teenager, who will again be asked to switch from his club flank to occupy the right-back berth as he did in the March win over Slovenia.
“You can get over the pain when it comes – it’s not a long-term thing that will affect you as an ankle can. The teeth can be painful at the time but it’s not going to get worse over time.
“He made it back [from hospital at the final] to run up the steps and get the cup. That’s what adrenaline does for you and we do admire that. It’s not easy when you get smacked on the face and when you come back to training you’re kind of ducking and diving.
“It’s a certainty what will happen next week – he will get banged on the face somewhere down the line. But he’s got a real street mentality when it comes to football and he likes making tackles. He’s an old-fashioned player who likes going forward but who understands that defending is his job.”