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‘KIERAN’S THE BHOY WITH ALL THE ANSWERS,’ HOOPS BOSS

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BRENDAN RODGERS believes Kieran Tierney can provide the answer to Scotland’s central defensive problems.

The Celtic boss reckons the 20-year-old left-back is a model professional who can play in numerous positions on the park.

Tierney has already played three different roles for the international side in just four appearances – left-back, right-back and on the left of a back three.

Rodgers says he’s comfortable in any of the positions, but he could be the solution for Gordon Strachan who is hardly spoiled for choice when it comes to centre-halves.

The Hoops gaffer said: “In international football and European football you don’t need to be six foot three to play centre-half.

“As long as you have got a couple of guys who are dominant in the air, he can step in and play. Can he do it in international football? Yes. Especially if you play with a three, he can play on the outside of a back three absolutely no problem.

“He can sit in there and serve, he wants the ball, he can play, he is quick.

“So, he is very multi-functional, he has good ideas and he is gaining confidence in passing and playing – he is a big talent.”

Tierney slotted in to a back three in Tuesday’s 0-0 draw against Slavia Prague after Dedryck Boyata limped off.

Rodgers continued: “He loves it. What helps him is that he can score goals from that area, as well.

“When he steps in he can step in centrally and get his shot off. Sometimes when he is wide he is going down the line in the system. Last year he scored four goals and had 12 assists.

“He’s a young boy I’d like to develop to play different positions. When you look at Kieran, rather than being the stiff left-back who gets rid of the ball, he is now cultured and can pass it and is quick in the recovery.

“Left-back, left-sided centre-half and right-back. We worked on him playing the left side of a diamond as when he was a young player he was a midfielder.

“He played wide, played inside then went to left-back. So, yeah, he is someone that has brilliant talent, his aggression, his will-to-win is good. He is getting better under pressure.

“The other night there were a couple of times when he would just have got rid of it. Instead, he had composure and made the pass. To play the team out of pressure.

“You need to have that when you are playing for a big club and you need to have it internationally. He is improving all the time in that aspect.”

The Hoops boss added: “Kieran is Celtic daft – he is in a real happy place. He is clever, he knows he is still learning he game.

“But his passion is Celtic. It’s great to see it, he comes in here with a smile, he comes in to learn. He loves playing for this club. Celtic is his life and has been since he was a child.

“He has that intensity and you see it and he’s a great representation of the supporters.

“He signed a five-year deal last year – he is playing, he is developing, he is playing week in and week out and is winning. 

“He is an outstanding talent, but still growing, still improving and that’s what he wants.”

 
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