When Ian Coll met ACSOM: On Kieran Tierney

The future of former Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney at English Premiership title contenders Arsenal has come up for debate recently as the 25-year-old has struggled for game time this season under Mikel Arteta.

Considered a regular in the team, when fit, during his first three seasons in North London, Tierney has lost his starting spot to summer arrival Oleksandr Zinchenko.  With oil rich Newcastle United on record as holding a genuine interest in the player, it could be time for Tierney to seek a new challenge.

Valued at around £30 million (via transfermarkt) any summer sale could net Celtic and Ange Postecoglou a handy transfer bonus thanks to the reported 15% sell-on clause inserted in the deal when Tierney left Paradise for the Emirates.  A move in the region of £30-35 million could see the Hoops pocket an additional £4.5-5.25 million; in other words, an extra signing.

However, as I found out when speaking to Ian Coll, former Head of Sports Science at Celtic and now Head of Fitness at Hajduk Split, back in 2019, Tierney’s rise to the first team at Celtic owed as much to good fortune as the players natural talents.

“Kieran Tierney was a phenomenal experience for me, to see and help his development.” Coll told me.  “He was the third choice left back at Under-20’s (behind Joe Chalmers and Callum Waters) and never played at under 20’s. Then, thanks to a chain reaction of injuries and players going on loan he came to the first team. Scott Brown loved him from the first training session and the kid has never looked back since.  It’s incredible.”

One feature Coll noted that helped Tierney stand above the other youth players coming through at the same time was his dedication to football and becoming the best player he possibly could.

“His commitment and dedication for football and Celtic is like nothing I have seen before. From a personal point of view, his training and development was great to see because he was very raw and underdeveloped.  There were a lot of biomechanical issues we worked on; strength and power.  He was always quick but it was inefficient speed so we developed his strength and power and the connection was higher.  He was always very aggressive and gave 100% in training and in the gym, so you saw that transfer on the pitch very quickly.”

At 25 and with the same drive and determination to succeed as he had as a 17-year-old making the grade at Lennoxtown, Tierney still has a lot to offer the game.  His talents deserve to be showcased on the pitch on a regular basis and that may mean a move away from North London becomes a reality in the summer.

That Celtic would benefit financially from having the foresight to include a sizeable sell-on fee further serves to highlight just how well the club is being run off the pitch; and you can trust Ange to invest it wisely on the pitch.

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