NOBODY likes to be reminded of their place in the grand scheme of things. Just last week I came back from a work trip to be greeted warmly at the door by my brood, only to be bypassed completely for the giant Chupa Chups I had slung in my bag as last-minute gifts at the airport. It stung, sure, but it doesn’t mean they love me any less. I think.

Anyway, it was probably the same sort of feeling that Celtic supporters had on Wednesday night as news filtered through during their Champions League qualifier against Cluj that their prodigal son, Kieran Tierney, would finally be making his move to Arsenal for £25m.

Now, Celtic supporters have every right to be upset about losing such a popular and pivotal figure. There’s nothing that football supporters love more than seeing one of their own make the transition from the terraces to the park (as a player, I mean, not while celebrating a last-minute winner), and subsequently there is nothing that stings quite as much as when they move on to bigger and better things.

But while the majority of Celtic fans have reacted to his departure by acknowledging that hurt while wishing Tierney well, there has also been a vocal fringe who are acting like jilted lovers, with some even going so far as to send the kid abuse on social media.

Scottish football supporters have never been particularly renowned for their sense of perspective, but let’s get a grip here lads. It seems that for some, nobody is allowed to leave Celtic these days without being branded a rat or a snake, no matter the circumstances of their departure.

Comparisons between Tierney’s exit and that of Brendan Rodgers begin and end with the fact that both moved to England’s top tier. Firstly, if you can’t tell the difference between Tierney’s tales of lifelong devotion to Celtic and those relayed by Rodgers, then I’ve got a rather nice bag of magic beans here that might interest you.

Tierney was and is a dyed-in-the-wool Celtic fan, and if his club do manage to seal 10-in-a-row, he will be there among the crowd cheering as loudly as anyone else. In fact, he will be there whenever he can, even if they don’t.

Rodgers also left mid-season, leaving Celtic spinning in the wind before Neil Lennon came in and steadied the course. The timing of Tierney’s departure not only gives his club ample time to replace him, but with the money involved, it could be argued that his departure has actually strengthened Celtic’s chance of success with the improvements Lennon can now make throughout his team.

Would Tierney have loved to have been part of the Celtic squad that clinched a tenth successive title? No doubt about it. But ask yourself, truly, would you in your heart of hearts turn down the figures involved even for that accolade? If you are saying yes, then it is only because you have never been in such a situation.

It’s easy for fans to say they would give their right arm to be part of such a moment in Celtic’s history, but that’s only because no one is asking them to. Tierney may not have had to sacrifice a limb, but he would have had to give up what may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to not only set up his entire family for life, but to test himself at such a high level week-in, week-out, and wring the most out of his ability.

Tierney, it could reasonably be argued, is a better player at 22 than Andy Robertson was, and just look at what his Scotland teammate has gone on to achieve.

I have even seen it levelled at Tierney that the move shows he lacks ambition, given that Arsenal haven’t been challenging for trophies of late. Would the same accusation now be levelled at Virgil van Dijk, who swapped Celtic for Southampton? Or even Victor Wanyama, who made the same move before going on to play in last season’s Champions League final? No, it is Tierney’s ambition that is a driver behind the move, and it is to be admired.

As for the club’s motivations, they were left with little choice but to sell. They held their ground, and got their £25m asking price, a new record fee received by a Scottish club. You can argue whether that is a fair deal in a world where Harry Maguire goes for £80m, but the market is what it is.

Tierney, in fact, is the poster boy for Celtic’s philosophy, because whether some fans wish to accept it or not, the club have long-since realised that they are a staging post for developing top talent. That doesn’t mean they can’t compete while doing so, and they now have a shining example to hold up to any young player about what can be achieved if they join the club. First-team football, trophies, and potentially a huge move at the end of it all.

I’m afraid that if you have any gripe with Tierney leaving for such a deal, then you have been blinded by your green and white glasses, or at the very least have a myopic view of Celtic’s rung in the world football ladder.

Ask yourself this. When Celtic were pursuing Motherwell’s David Turnbull earlier in the summer, was your view that the Fir Park club shouldn’t stand in the way of a wonderful opportunity for a young player to go on to play on a bigger stage, earn huge money and make the most of himself as a player? It’s common sense. Would he have been turning back on his fellow lifelong Motherwell fans had the deal gone through? Of course not.

The difference between going from Motherwell to Celtic and from Celtic to Arsenal may not be as cavernous, but it is a distance nonetheless due to the leagues that the two clubs play in. And just as you may have thought that Motherwell fans should be happy for Turnbull to seal such a dream move, so too should you now be happy for Tierney as he makes his move onto a bigger stage.

It doesn’t mean he loves you any less.


IT is a day that Partick Thistle fans must have thought they would never see again, as their club stormed to the top of the standings this week. Unfortunately, the table in question wasn’t the Championship, but the statement league.

Also unfortunate is that all of those statements have been reactive, rather than proactive, with fans still not any clearer what the proposed takeover of the club by NewCity Capital will mean for their future.

Make no mistake, alarm bells are ringing inside the club, and while I have said it before, it is worth saying again. It is time for chairman David Beattie to come up with some answers to end the uncertainty.