THE TWO away wins last week were achieved by a group of Celtic players who were still in shock after the sudden departure of Brendan Rodgers, Chris Davies and Kolo Toure the day before the vital league match at Tynecastle.
Celtic under Rodgers had lost their previous two league matches at Tynecastle and the task for the match after that – away to Hibs in the Scottish Cup was every bit as daunting. Fortunately enough Celtic left Edinburgh on both occasions last week with wins in the bag and the support certainly played its part in achieving those victories in the face of adversity.
Yet it was probably inevitable that the reality would set in at some stage and that happened yesterday when an uninspiring Celtic performance allowed Derek McInnes to leave Paradise with a point.
Afterwards Kieran Tierney looked back at how Rodgers’ departure came about from his perspective.
“It all happened so quickly with the turnover and there was shock,” KT said to the media.
“It surprised everybody. I woke up on Tuesday morning and it had happened.
“My pals were asking me on the Monday night if the rumour was true. I just said to them, ‘I don’t know, I can’t tell you anything’. Then the next morning it was as if it just happened overnight. It was all so quick.
“You didn’t even have time to think about what had happened because there were two massive games against Hearts and Hibs.
“We just had to get on with it, get the wins and I don’t think we could have reacted much better than we did.”
Tierney, whose return to the side after a few months out with his hip problem, was also a key factor in steadying the ship, is a Celtic supporter himself so understands the strong feelings that have been expressed since the new broke.
Can you imagine how that would have escalated had we lost those two games in Edinburgh?
“The fans are hurting. That’s quite clear to see,” KT said. “But I think we now need to focus on Celtic. What’s done is done. The fans’, players’ and manager’s focus is just on Celtic now.
“We have nine league games and left and hopefully two in the cup. It’s gone now. We had such a successful time and we wish him all the best. What we achieved over the last two-and-a-half years was crazy but we have a big end to the season now.
“There is no point in dwelling on the past. We need to look forward,” Kieran stated.
Giving a little more detail on the contact the players have had with their former manager, Tierney revealed that they’d all received text messages wishing them well for the future.
“He texted the boys after he left and wishes us all the best for the future. We thank him for all he has done as he’s helped me become a much better player and professional.
“The standards he set changed football up here and we wish him all the best.”
Tierney understands the significance of this two wins in Edinburgh last week and he certainly enjoyed being part of the post match celebrations, particularly after the win against Hearts.
“That was brilliant! A class moment. The way the game ended…it was written in the stars after the previous couple of days. It was crazy. One of the best feelings I’ve ever had on a football pitch,” KT said.
And as he’s urged the rest of us to start looking forward, the Celtic Star did exactly that himself as he considered the impact that the appointment of Neil Lennon to manage the side until the end of the season at least, will bring.
“The new manager has been here before and knows the club inside out.
“He was someone I always looked up to and to have one of your heroes as manager is great for me. To have a manager who knows Celtic, the game and the league so well made it a lot easier for us.
“When I was coming through the academy, he was manager in his first spell. I was dead nervous around him and I’d ask for pictures with him.
“He won’t remember me from those days. And I won’t bring it up either…I’d just embarrass myself.”
Celtic head to Dens Park this weekend then it’s the return of the dreaded International Break – the first one in 2019. While the fans aren’t too fond of these breaks Tierney is keen to get play in both the Euro qualifiers away to Kazakhstan and San Marino before returning to Glasgow to play the Rangers at the end of the month.
KT wants to play in these Scotland matches and that will certainly be good news for Alex McLeish.
“I’m ready to go. In the Scotland camp, if I’m chosen, it is two games in a week and I’ll be ready for it. The physios will talk to each other and discuss. But I am ready to train and play.
“If I’m fit, I want to play every game for club and country. I’m ready.”