KIERAN TIERNEY has opened up on the "toughest year of his life" after netting his first goal for Arsenal yesterday.

The former Celtic defender suffered injury after injury for the Gunners following his switch from Parkhead last summer.

But despite a series of knockbacks, the Scotland international has enjoyed a stunning end to the Premier League season where he has become a mainstay in Mikel Arteta's side.

Speaking after Arsenal's 3-2 victory over Watford on the final day of the season, Tierney said: “It’s been the toughest year of my life. I’ve had the injury and a lot of new challenges but you need challenges, you need to be uncomfortable.

“You need to challenge yourself to improve. I worked hard every day and I knew it wasn’t going to be easy coming to this massive club full of great players. I knew it was going to be tough coming in and trying to get my place in the team.

“I’m just grateful for every opportunity I get to go on the pitch and give my all. I try to repay the manager’s faith by working hard and trying to put in good performances. It’s all about the hard work."

On scoring his first goal in the famous red and white jersey, he added:  “I didn’t know what to do [to celebrate the goal] so I just turned around. I think it was shock! I’ll take it. It was a good ball from Auba as well so it was a good day for me personally.”