Kieran Tierney: Celtic defender among best left-backs in UK - John Kennedy

By Andy BurkeBBC Sport Scotland
Celtic defender Kieran Tierney
Kieran Tierney, who turned 20 in June, has already played over 80 games for Celtic

Celtic defender Kieran Tierney is "up there with the top left-backs" in Britain at the moment, says the club's first-team coach John Kennedy.

Tierney captained the team and scored a stunning long-range goal in Tuesday's 5-0 Scottish League Cup rout of Kilmarnock - a game in which he was deployed at centre-back.

The 20-year-old has also featured at right-back for Scotland.

"He can play wherever. He's a top player," said Kennedy.

"He still has improvement in him and he realises that himself. Physically he'll fill out more, technically he'll get better and as he plays more games tactically he'll become much more aware.

"For a young player he's done very well. He's got a lot of experience behind him now and you've just got to keep building on that.

"He's certainly up there with the top left-backs in the country [Britain]."

Having established himself in the first team as a young defender in his own playing career at Parkhead, Kennedy has been impressed with the way Tierney has handled the rise from youth team player to first-team stalwart.

He believes Tierney could operate effectively at centre-back - where manager Brendan Rodgers selected him against Kilmarnock - or at right-back, where Scotland boss Gordon Strachan used him in the World Cup qualifier against Slovenia in March.

"He can do that just now," Kennedy said. "It comes down to Brendan [Rodgers] and Gordon [Strachan] with Scotland, It's trust, that's all it is.

"You have a young player there who has 100% trust from their manager, wherever he plays on the pitch.

"Kieran has that mindset to try to develop and get better all the time - and he'll never change.

"I'd imagine when Kieran's 30 years old he'll still be the same guy, still be giving everything he's got every day and after games wanting to know what he can do better. That's the kind of guy he is."

Kieran Tierney and Patrick Roberts
Celtic must be patient in their pursuit of Patrick Roberts (right) says John Kennedy

Meanwhile, Kennedy says Celtic will have to bide their time in their pursuit of Patrick Roberts.

The Scottish Premiership champions want to bring back the Manchester City winger, who previously enjoyed an 18-month loan spell at Celtic Park.

"We just have to be patient on it," Kennedy explained. "Patrick had a fantastic time here, a lot of admiration for him from our end, but Manchester City have him under contract.

"Patrick has to be involved in that decision as well so we've just got to be patient and see if something materialises. But at the moment nothing has really happened on that."


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