RONNY DEILA is not surprised 18-year-old defender Kieran Tierney is already being linked with top-flight English clubs – especially if he continues his startling progress.

The left-back looked extremely comfortable and composed during the first-half of his international debut in Scotland’s 1-0 win over Denmark on Tuesday.

Tierney made way for Celtic colleague Charlie Mulgrew after the interval, but he still did enough to be mentioned as a £5million target for Southampton, who have already splashed ££35million in recent years in buying Hoops trio Fraser Forster, Virgil van Dijk and Victor Wanyama.

Deila said: “When you are playing for the Scotland national team at 18 years old and you play regularly for Celtic, of course, clubs will be after him.

“But he is going to stay here, that is the best thing for his development. Now, he just has to have the consistency, play all the time and be a very important player for us.

“I didn’t get to see the first half at Hampden, I only saw the second, but I was told he did well. I spoke to Gordon Strachan and he was satisfied and I am not very surprised by that.

“He showed what we have seen at Celtic, he is ready at this level. He is a young kid, mentally strong, physically strong and has adapted unbelievably quickly.

“Why? He works really hard every day in training, he is a humble guy, respectful, keen to learn new things and very disciplined. I am so happy for him, but, at the same time, he has a lot to improve. He knows that himself.”

The SPFL champions, who face Hearts at Parkhead today with a 12.30pm kick-off, had 33 players on international duty at various levels and the Hoops gaffer believes that is testament to the quality of his squad.

Deila said: “It is very good and it makes me proud. And also they won both games and that is a good thing for Scottish football.

“We are Scottish and we want to be the best club and we also need the players in the national team. I think there was a statistic that said we had over 30 players in various national teams, you can’t be disappointed in that.

“It is a positive thing, it says that there is a lot of talent here.”

After hosting Hearts, Celtic visit Dundee on Tuesday night before facing Motherwell at Fir Park next week.

Deila expects title challengers Aberdeen to win their two matches against Hamilton and Hearts before the split, but insists his side are up for the challenge.

He added: “We can see the finishing line, so it is going to be a good game against Hearts. We need to keep on winning games.

“I think they will win every game and we will have to do the same. We have been very consistent and we have to keep on the same way.”

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