Just a few minutes before, the fresh-faced Celtic Academy graduate was about to give one of his first ever interviews to the media when a a fire alarm at the National Stadium brought an unexpected halt to proceedings and the event, for a Scottish Cup draw, was

brigade were called.

To those unfamiliar with the burgeoning reputation of the left-back, he quite easily could have been mistaken for a punter hanging around for an autograph. Wearing a Celtic tracksuit and a backpack over his shoulders, a nervous smile flashed a glimpse of a set of green and white braces. Not many could have predicted just what that young boy – or should that be Bhoy – would become in the coming months.

With just around a dozen games under his belt at that stage, a steady progression under Ronny Deila would see the Motherwell lad notch up 34 in total that campaign, finishing it off with his first goal against his hometown club on the final day of the season.

Since then the 20-year-old has gone from strength to strength, culminating in him becoming Celtic’s second youngest ever captain on Tuesday night in the Betfred Cup thrashing of Kilmarnock. He also scored a wee tap in to top it off…

Tierney is a massive talent, of that there is no doubt. In the green and white of Celtic he has consistently been one of the top performers under Deila and now Brendan Rodgers, while he has shown himself to be Gordon Strachan’s flexible friend in the dark blue of his country.

It has led many to out him as the future captain of the Scottish champions when Scott Brown eventually retires. Some have also said the same about Scotland, claiming he is the best Scottish player for a generation and beyond. And they may be right.

In the middle of all this, though, there is something worryingly Scottish about the whole thing.

Two years ago Tierney was far from the household name he is now. He was just an 18-year-old lad living his dream. Now, he’s a 20-year-old lad living his dream.

However, we have a history in this country for getting over-excited about players, building them up into world beaters, then watching them buckle under the weight of expectation heaped on them so young.

As Paul Simon once sang, every generation throws a hero up the pop charts.

At Celtic, think back to the likes of Mark Burchill and Liam Miller. Elsewhere, you have had Derek Riordan, John Fleck, Lewis Macleod, even the likes of Ryan Gauld. There was also Jack Harper at Real Madrid who is currently warming a bench in Malaga after flopping at Brighton.

PERHAPS it comes from having a domestic – and international – game in such a state.

We pin our hopes and dreams on those coming through, when instead we should maybe let them develop on their own. There are few over the last 20 years who have truly managed to live up to it.

Playing for one half of the Old Firm will always bring

attention and pressure. And, you have to say, Tierney has coped with it better than most. He has thrived in it.

It is this maturity beyond his years that perhaps has him down to be the bright hope for Scottish football who is tipped to shine more than any of his current or previous generation.

Anyone who has met the lad will testify to the fact he is grounded and appreciative of the position he finds himself in. One that has been earned through sheer talent, gruelling hard work and uncompromising determination.

He is one of Scottish football’s good guys, and one of the modern day success stories.

However, let’s give him the time, chance and environment to write his own script. That’s surely the best way of trying to secure a happy ending, for all our sakes and especially Kieran’s.

HeraldScotland | Sport

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