KIERAN TIERNEY has already played 46 times this season for Celtic and Scotland, making him the the hardest working professional footballer on the planet.
The German statistical site Transfermarkt reported that KT leads the way in terms of matches played and his Celtic and Scotland team mates James Forrest Craig Gordon are the next names on the list.
This really does illustrate the stresses that have been put on Brendan Rodgers’ squad since returning from the summer break at the end of June. And remember that these players also featured on 10 June for the Scotland against England at Hampden.
The study has revealed that KT has had a remarkable total of 4,057 minutes on the pitch already in season 2017/18.
And with Celtic having 12 league games to play, at least two European matches and the Scottish Cup to think about, the numbers are going to get even more daunting for Tierney and Forrest at least. Craig Gordon is now out of the side having suffered a knew injury that has ruled him out for the rest of the season.
Tierney himself accepts that Celtic’s grueling schedule has had an affect on the champions.
“I think we have played a lot more games than anyone else and there are times when maybe we haven’t looked ourselves,” KT said.
“We were able to get a break with the winter shutdown, but it wasn’t as though we got too much time off. I think overall we had six days of a break.
“I reckon, too, that sometimes people look at it and see that we were away in Dubai, but it wasn’t a holiday camp for us.
“We were over there and working pretty hard with lots of intense sessions put in.
“We aren’t complaining. It is what all the top teams have to cope with.
“We want to play European football as well as compete for domestic trophies so we know that we just have to get on with it.
“One of our aims this season was to make sure that we were involved in European football after Christmas.
“These will be tough games against Zenit St Petersburg. We know that they are a good team and we have to go out and see if we can keep a clean sheet and get something to take over there for the second leg.
“Anything can happen. Hopefully, the experience of playing in the Champions League these past two seasons can help us as a team.
“I certainly feel as though I have benefited from playing at that level.
“But Zenit are an excellent team. They have some great players and we know that if we want to take anything then we need to be at or best.
“Guys such as Moussa Dembele and Scott Brown have shown that they are big-game players in this kind of environment.
“We know we have guys here who can rise to the occasion and that is what we will be looking to do.”