KIERAN TIERNEY insists Brendan Rodgers is the ideal man to lead Celtic into the white heat of a crucial derby battle at Ibrox on Sunday.

The former Hoops fans’ favourite, who departed Parkhead in a £25million switch to Arsenal in August 2019, is backing the Irishman to continue his excellent record against the city rivals.

Tierney is convinced Rodgers can mastermind a triumph that will be absolutely vital in his old club’s quest for a twelfth title in 13 years.

The 26-year-old Scotland international left-back is currently on loan at Real Sociedad , but will watch the action on TV at his home in San Sebastian.

GOVAN GLEE…Kieran Tierney celebrates Celtic’s 5-1 win at Ibrox in April 2017. 

Tierney said: “It promises to be an incredible match.

“I really hope for a Celtic win, but I know how difficult it is going to Ibrox. It will be even tougher without any fans.

“But they have done it before — and I’ve got every faith in them.

“Brendan’s a great manager who has a fantastic derby record. He knows what it takes to win at Ibrox.”

Tierney also hailed Rodgers’ right-hand man in the dug and said: “I know how important John Kennedy is. He is an amazing coach. I’ve seen it first-hand.

“He helped me massively — and I know there are numerous other players at Celtic who will say the same.

“I don’t think the team could have two better people in charge. They will keep the players calm and focused.”

The champions go into the High Noon shoot-out with a one-point advantage over their nearest challengers who have a game in hand.

SHAKE, PAL…Brendan Rodgers congratulates Kieran Tierney after another excellent performance.

Rodgers’ has won both encounters in his second time-around stint at the club and has emerged victorious on TWELVE occasions in 15 meetings with two draws and one loss.

Tierney has a similar record with nine wins in 12 and one defeat.

His solitary blemish came in April 2016 when Ronny Deila’s side drew 2-2 after extra-time with the Ibrox club, then operating in the Championship, but lost on penalty-kicks in the Scottish Cup semi-final.

It was the disastrous defeat that sealed the Norwegian manager’s fate at Parkhead and opened the door for Rodgers to join his boyhood heroes.

Tierney, speaking to the Scottish Sun, continued: “These derby games are crazy. The 2016 defeat was a huge moment. From that Brendan came in and in the years after that Celtic won a quadruple treble.

“I remember his team-talk before the game against Rangers at Parkhead the next season. He said: ‘Just remember how you felt after the game at Hampden’.

SPANISH AYES…Kieran Tierney is enjoying his loan spell at Real Sociedad.

“My favourite win over Rangers was the one that clinched the league. We won 5-0 at Parkhead. To win the title against our biggest rivals was amazing.

“I’m proud of my record against Rangers. The only thing I didn’t achieve was a goal.”

Tierney, who has been consistently linked with a dramatic return to the Hoops, has spent the last seven months at the La Liga club and is due to return to London in June.

The ex-Celt added: “I’ve loved my time out here so far. Sociedad’s a great club with amazing supporters.

“Coming here is one of the best decisions I’ll ever make. Personally and professionally, it’s been a wonderful experience.”

The guessing game on Tierney’s future will kick in again in the summer with the defender apparently surplus to requirements at Mikel Arteta’s club.

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