RONNY DEILA is not known for making grand statements about his young players but he does make an exception about one teenager everyone at Celtic is talking about – Kieran Tierney.

It has been a while since the club produced a left-back from their own academy. You really have to go back to Stephen Cairney and while Ross Wallace filled in there for a season, he was always a winger sent back to defend for his sins.

Tierney has to be the first player from the Isle of Man - he moved to Scotland as a baby - to turn out for the club, as he has done five times so far, the latest being last week’s Europa League Cup draw with Fenerbahce. He did more than well against the Turks.

He only turned 18 in June so in this day and age is extremely young to be even on the fringes of the Celtic squad, however, those who have known about him for a while have predicted great things for this lad, long before Deila granted him a deserved debut against Dundee last season.

The Norwegian’s reputation for taking risks, if that’s the right word, on such raw talent is one of the reasons Celtic first looked at him as a possible coach, but those kids have to be good enough to get their chance.

Deila leaves you in little doubt that he thinks Tierney, with his cultured left foot and natural intelligence, has it within him to go all the way.

The Celtic manager said: “I saw that Kieran was a good player from the very first day I watched him. He is a big talent and has shown in training and in the matches he’s played in so far that he can operate at the highest level.

“I had no hesitation in playing him against Fenerbahce. There was not a single thought in my mind about not using Kieran. He showed me what I wanted to see and this is the start of a young man’s career as a Celtic player, take that from me.

“He does not look as if he’s just 18. That is why he played in such an important European match. He thinks and plays like a 25-year-old. This is how we want more youngsters who come through to play.

“KT has the right attitude. He wants to get better every day. He hates losing tackles. His eyes and ears are open all the time. He has such incredible ability.

“As I said, this is start of a big career for him. Kieran is going to be a big player for Celtic.”

Deila is similar to Gordon Strachan in a sense in that he won’t hand any player a Celtic jersey for the sake of it. They need to earn it.

Strachan loved to moan – would you believe – about the under-21 rule and why he was forced into naming young players as a substitute who in the-then manager’s eyes were not worthy of such an accolade.

Deila plays Tierney because the boss believes his young protégé has what it takes, not just to become a Celtic squad player who will help out now and them, but someone who can cut it on the biggest stage of them all.

This should encourage Celtic supporters. His philosophy regarding player recruitment is that you only buy players who at least have a chance of one day being genuinely good enough.

Deila, speaking last week, said: “To play at Celtic, you're talking about aspiring to the Champions League, that’s the level you’re talking about here. Now we are bringing players who are not even close the Champions League, but they can be.

“When you can’t buy Champions League quality you have to go down and think who can become that standard. These are players we think can get there.

“Now that desire is the most important lesson players can learn nowadays. Yes you can be fifth in line in competition for places but does that mean you’re going to give up?

“There’s too much results-obsessed thinking in this country, in my opinion. Everyone is thinking about winning, winning, winning and playing every week because that is what they’re taught. You have to win, you have to play all the time.

“But real winners are thinking ‘how do we win? How do I get better?’ And then they do something with it.

“That’s the culture I want at Celtic and that is so much improved already. The players are thinking, they are making their own choices and they get knowledge about everything they need to do to be successful in football.”

Celtic will continue to sell most of their best players unless Dermot Desmond decides to stop talking about joining the English Premier League and start paying the kind of wage you find down south.

In an ideal world, Deila wants to be able to turn round to Tierney or young Aidan Nesbitt – an 18-year-old striker who looks about 12 by the way – and put them straight into the team once the inevitable sale of whoever goes through.

Deila said: “When you lose experienced players you lose knowledge and skills so then you have to rebuild and the next player has to be ready.

“What if Stefan Johansen gets sold? Is Nesbitt ready to come in? He has to be ready.

“Stefan didn’t play in his first two years at Stromsgodset because he was behind Mohammed Abu who was the Player of the Year in Norway. But he just kept working hard and when Abu went to play in Germany Stefan was ready to take over and the next year he was even better than Abu.

“So it’s not about ‘I need to play’, you have to make yourself deserve it. And if you can’t handle competition then you are nothing at Celtic."

Thus endeth the lesson.