KIERAN Tierney’s heart will doubtless tell him to stay at Parkhead if, as appears inevitable, a bid that matches Celtic’s valuation of their left back is tabled in the coming days.

The 22-year-old’s love of the club he has been at since he was just eight is renowned – when he is not on the pitch playing he is invariably in the stands cheering on the side along with his fellow supporters.

So remaining at his boyhood heroes, who he is contracted to until 2023, and helping them to complete 10-In-A-Row will no doubt be tempting.

But the Scotland defender isn’t daft either. Deep down, he will appreciate that he needs to move to a better league down south or overseas, and needs to do so now, if he is to progress further as a player.

Tierney has seen how Andy Robertson, his international team mate and captain, has flourished since departing Dundee United for Hull City in a £2.85 million transfer five years ago. His compatriot, just three years his senior, is now an established Liverpool regular and a Champions League winner to boot.

Representing one of the top clubs in England and challenging for major European honours is well within the Wishaw lad’s capabilities if he departs. And not in a few years’ time either. Straight away.

Celtic’s prized assets have initially moved to mid-table Premier League outfits in recent seasons due to reservations down south over the standard of the Ladbrokes Premiership. Virgil van Dijk and Victor Wanyama both joined Southampton at first before then being snapped up by Liverpool and Spurs respectively after proving themselves.

Tierney, though, is different. He has repeatedly shown he can shine at the highest level with his displays in the Europa League and Champions League in the past four seasons. He has excelled in meetings with Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Anderlecht and RB Leipzig.

It has been that ability to cope with games against that sort of opposition at such a tender age which has generated widespread interest. His potential is enormous. In the right environment he can, like Robertson, blossom and possibly even become one of the European game’s outstanding left backs.

He has pace, an eye for goal, reads the game well, and is also, as his performances when he has been moved to right back and centre half have underlined, versatile. He is, too, a consummate professional who is always, unlike so many highly-paid so-called stars in the modern game, prepared to make himself available for selection while carrying niggling injuries. What’s not to love?

That is why Arsenal, fifth in the Premier League last season and Europa League finalists, and Napoli, runners-up in Serie A and Europa League quarter-finalists in the 2018/19 campaign, are currently vying to secure his services and other prospective suitors are monitoring his situation.

An initial bid of £15 million from the Emirates Stadium club has been rejected. They are poised to come back with an improved offer this week. Their Stadio San Paolo counterparts, meanwhile, are also set to enter the race for the player with an anticipated offer of £16.5 million plus add-ons in the coming days. The chances are they will have to part with far more money to get their man.

The £25 million– a figure that would see their youth academy graduate become the most expensive Scottish footballer by some distance – that Celtic are looking for would ease the pain of his departure considerably. The move, then, makes sense for all concerned.

Robertson is currently the better of the two left backs due in no small part to the standard of opponent that he faces on a weekly basis in England as well as in Europe.

The calibre of player that Tierney faces is nowhere near the same. Shay Logan, Stephen O’Donnell and James Tavernier won’t mourn Tierney’s departure if and when he departs due to the difficult afternoons and evenings he has repeatedly given them.

The Scot needs to pit his wits against Trent Alexander-Arnold, Raheem Sterling and Kyle Walker or Keita Balde, Joao Cancelo and Alessandro Florenzi in order to improve.

Not having the same intense schedule would also be beneficial for a player who was, as a result of playing over 100 games for his club and country in the past two seasons, never really fully fit last term and has recently required to undergo a double hernia operation.

Celtic returned to pre-season training seven days ago little over three weeks after completing their third consecutive domestic treble. Their first Champions League qualifier against Sarajevo is just a fortnight away. The demands on their top players are too great, invariably take a toll and are unsustainable going forward.

Moving to England, Italy or another top league would give Tierney the time he needs to rest his body and recuperate. Robertson, for example, won’t play his first competitive match with Liverpool until early August.

Rangers, who are set to make Joe Aribo their seventh summer signing today, will hope to challenge their city rivals for the Betfred Cup, Premiership and William Hill Scottish Cup in the months ahead. The new season promises to be far more fiercely contested than last term.

Tierney, though, has nothing left to prove in this country. The three-time PFA Scotland and SFWA Young Player of the Year has excelled in Glasgow derby matches, dealt with the threat posed by the Ibrox club and won every domestic honour more than once.

It is time he sought out fresh challenges and took his career into a different stratosphere.