Celtic: Boss Brendan Rodgers has improved my game - Kieran Tierney

Brendan Rodgers has spoken very highly of teenage full-back Tierney
Brendan Rodgers has spoken very highly of teenage full-back Tierney
Scottish Premiership: Celtic v Rangers
Venue: Celtic Park Date: Sunday, 12 March Kick-off: 12:00 GMT
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Scotland, live text commentary on BBC Sport website and app

Celtic full-back Kieran Tierney says manager Brendan Rodgers has made him a better player.

The 19-year-old came through the Parkhead youth development programme to make himself a first pick at left-back and has thrived since Rodgers' arrival last summer.

Tierney revealed he has been putting in extra work under the guidance of the club's coaches and Rodgers.

"He's made me, technically, a much better player," he said.

"They've worked hard on that, him and the coaches, and they've just emphasised that I work on a lot of stuff. That's what I've done in training and after training.

"Touches and passes, I'm working on that, and my crosses as well, so I'm working on a lot of stuff. I'm still young."

Celtic face Rangers in the Premiership on Sunday and while Tierney is looking forward to the "big game", he says the fixture gets no special treatment within the dressing room.

"We work hard every single day and give 100% no matter who you're up against," he said.

"I'm always up for every single game, no more than any other game - I like every single minute on the park for Celtic.

"It's a great experience for me, I've played in a few (games against Rangers). Last season I was on the end of a defeat [on penalties in the Scottish Cup semi-final] but this season it has been more positive for me and hopefully it can continue."

Kieran Tierney takes on James Tavernier
Tierney played in this season's 5-1 league win and 1-0 League Cup semi-final win against Rangers

Tierney was injured for the last Premiership match against Rangers at New Year, but he joined the club's fans in the Ibrox crowd for the 2-1 triumph.

"I was gutted - you don't like missing any games but the boys did well and it was a great memory for me," he said. "It was brilliant, just like when I was younger, going to the games with my dad and my family. So it was another good experience."

Celtic go into the game having won all three derby matches so far this term.

The Premeirship leaders are 27 points clear of second-placed Aberdeen, 33 clear of Rangers in third, and only need seven more points to be certain of a sixth straight title, although two wins would effectively clinch it, given their huge goal difference advantage.

Celtic v Rangers so far in 2016-2017
10 Sep 2016, PremiershipCeltic 5-1 Rangers
23 Oct 2016, League Cup SFRangers 0-1 Celtic
31 Dec 2016, PremiershipRangers 1-2 Celtic

Tierney says the club's dominance is all down to their own hard work.

"The points gap is big but that's not come easy," he added. "We've worked hard since day one for that. Every single day since pre-season, it's all geared towards the league and cups and we're doing well, but it's not come easy for us."

Tierney has returned to top form since his ankle ligament injury and is targeting a place in the Scotland squad for the friendly against Canada on 22 March and World Cup qualifier with Slovenia on 26 March.

"I'm hoping I can be in there," he said. "I missed the England game through injury the last time, another big game to miss, but that's football and you need to deal with it. Hopefully the last few months I've showed the manager I'm ready to come back in."

In the week when legendary Celtic player Tommy Gemmell passed away, Tierney also spoke about the man who helped blaze the trail for attacking full-backs.

"It's very sad," the teenager said. "I think it was 63 goals or something that he scored - if I get 63 shots I'll be happy in my career."

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