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KT DEALS WITH ‘HATE AND NEGATIVITY’

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KIERAN TIERNEY accepts he has raised the bar with his individual performances since breaking into the Celtic first team in April 2015.

The defender has not been immune to criticism in the champions’ somewhat stuttering start to the campaign that sees them six points off the pace as they head for Dundee tonight in their quest to make up ground on Hearts on their way to an eighth successive Premiership title.

Tierney admitted: “The expectation seems to be for me to play every game brilliantly.

“If I play an average game, I’ve played badly, if you know what I mean. But the Celtic fans have been great with me since day one.

“The consistency and loyalty they have shown towards me I can only give back on the pitch and that’s what I try to do.

“I just try my hardest. That’s the only thing I can do. Whether I play a one out of 10 or seven out of 10, it’s not down to effort.

“If I walk off the pitch after 90 minutes, I know I’ve given everything I have. That’s all I can do and that’s the attitude I go with.”

Tierney also took some flak following his display against Israel in the Euro Nations League qualifier earlier this month and he added: “My Scotland trip wasn’t great with the own goal, but there is not much you can do. I tried my best and, unfortunately, it ended up in the net.

“You just need to bounce back. You are going to get a lot of hate and negativity, but the people around you help.

“The people in this building and your friends and family help you through it.

“That and your own mental strength as a footballer because you know you are going to get days like that.

“I’m lucky I have a chance to redeem my Scotland mistake and, hopefully, I can do that.”

The 21-year-old defender also looked at the club’s recent Europa League Group B defeats against RB Salzburg in Austria and RB Leipzig in Germany and added: “No player likes to be involved in those, but it’s stuff that in the long run makes you more mentally tough.

“It’s incredible what we’ve achieved. Maybe only now you’re properly starting to understand how hard it was, how good a double treble was. You’ve had a couple of bad games and the criticism and pressure is on.

“But we’re going back in the right direction again and, hopefully, we can keep it going.”

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report and the best action images from tonight’s Dundee v Celtic game – only in your champion CQN.

 
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