HE is firmly of the belief that his old friend, one-time protégé and former team mate could play for any club in the world.

Yet, Scott Brown has admitted that he would love to see Kieran Tierney make a return to his boyhood heroes Celtic and predicted that it might happen in the future.

The Scottish champions’ legendary captain Brown was a huge influence on Tierney when the young left back broke into the first team at Parkhead eight years ago.

He helped his fellow Scot to develop into one of the Glasgow giants’ most consistent performers at home and abroad in the seasons which followed and win no fewer than eight major honours.

Tierney has taken his career to another level since sealing a record £25m transfer to Arsenal in England and is currently starring for Spanish outfit Real Sociedad in La Liga and the Champions League.

The 26-year-old, who fell out of favour under Mikel Arteta in north London last term, is out of contract in the summer and is free to speak to interested parties next month.

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The chances of Celtic being able to pay the wages of a proven Premier League performer seem remote. Still, rumours about the current Premiership leaders wanting to strengthen in his position persist.

Could the chance to return to the team he has supported all of his life and work under Brendan Rodgers domestically and in Europe once again prove tempting for the defender? It would be a major coup if it happened.

But Brown, who has been pleased to see Tierney put a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a hamstring injury behind him this month, refused to rule it out.

Glasgow Times: He certainly thinks the club he spent 14 years at would be getting a vastly superior footballer to the one who departed in 2019 if they could pull it off.

“I’d love to see him back at Celtic, I would,” he said at Hampden earlier this week as he looked ahead to the Viaplay Cup final between Aberdeen and Rangers.

“He’s loved by all the fans and it’s such a huge club for him. It was a hard decision for him to leave because the club means so much to him. But at the same time he’s been away for that long now and experienced different things. Maybe he wants to experience other things now.

“There are a lot of clubs in England who’d take him. In fact, there are clubs all over the world who would take him, to be perfectly honest. But Celtic have that pull over him which is a great thing. I’d love to see it happen one day. You never know.”

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Brown continued: “His whole family support Celtic. He went to the games when he was a kid. I’ve seen the pictures of him with Naka (Shunsuke Nakamura) when he got his boots and things like that. It’s in his blood, Celtic.

“It (Arsenal) was a hard move for him, it was heartbreaking. But I think it was the right move at the right time. And to the right club. I think he would have learned a lot working with Mikel Arteta even though he’s maybe not played as much.

“It will have been something totally different going over to Spain. He’s now experienced a lot but whenever he’s gone he’s been a top pro. You can see all the fans love him no matter where he goes.”

Tierney missed Scotland’s last three Euro 2024 qualifiers against Spain, Georgia and Norway due to his hamstring problem and Brown, who was on the pitch when the teenager won his first cap in a friendly win over Denmark at Hampden in 2016, knows his return to action augurs well for the national team.

“It’s been a bad one on his hammy,” he said. "But that’s him back in now and the wee man is unbelievable. He’s got great attributes. He’s got that desire to get back into the squad and he’ll fight anybody.

Glasgow Times: “You can see why Arsenal wanted him to go down there and why Real Sociedad wanted him to go to Spain. He is a top quality player. He does it at Champions League level, at the top in England and now the top flight in Spain.

“He’s only going to get better with the more experience he gets as well. He’ll get to know his body as he gets older too. But he’s got so much to offer Scotland and future clubs, whatever he ends up.”

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Brown, despite winning 55 caps between 2005 and 2017, never graced the finals of a major tournament. But he believes having both Tierney and Andy Robertson available will be vital to the chances of progressing to the knockout rounds of the Euro 2024 finals in Germany in June.

“KT and Robbo on that left side is very, very good,” he said. “It is solid. They have got that understanding. If one goes forward the other will sit back. But sometimes you see KT overlapping Robbo at the edge of the box. The wee man is putting some great balls in, Robbo is putting some great balls in. It is that left side that will really kick Scotland on.”

The 38-year-old, who parted company with English League One club Fleetwod Town in September following a disappointing start to the 2023/24 campaign, is eager to return to management in the near future. However, he intends to travel to the Euros in some capacity this summer regardless of what he is doing.

“I would have liked to have qualified, but I didn’t do it,” he said. “It’s not something I’m going to lose any sleep over. We had the opportunity against Norway at Hampden - when big Chris (Iwelumo) missed the sitter (in a World Cup qualifier in 2008)!

“But apart from that I don’t think we were ever that close. I remember a game we lost over on Georgia (in a Euro 2008 qualifier in 2007). It just always felt like we were one game away from really doing well.

“But I’d go to Germany, aye. I’ll maybe get a camper van! As a fan I’d like to go over. I might do telly, I might do something else. I’d just like to go and experience what it’s like at a major finals.”

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