KIERAN TIERNEY heard the noise from the Rangers side of the city ahead of the first Glasgow Derby of the season and noted that Celtic answered that where it matters most, not on the back pages of the papers or on internet sites but on the park. “Everybody was talking about Rangers but we kept quiet and we did our talking, where it matters most, on the park.
“We played really well against Rangers and on another day we could have scored a few more. I don’t think anyone could have argued with the final outcome,” KT said yesterday.
He was more reflective about the failure to advance through the qualifying stages to reach the Champions League Group stages but is now preparing for a different type of European adventure in the Europa League. Jim Craig reminded us this morning – and it was uncomfortable reading (see HERE), just how brutal and unforgiving the Champions League can be, so maybe we are being spared that this year?
“We know we could have done a lot better, especially in the Champions League and we know that,” Tierney admitted.
“It was a particularly sore one in Athens because we had the quality to beat them but we didn’t use it which was the most disappointing thing.
“We are now in the Europa League group stages which is the next big thing for us. We can now look forward to these matches against Rosenborg, Leipzig and Salzburg.
“It is something different and although it is a disappointment that it is not the Champions League they are still games to look forward to. All three teams are decent sides and will offer us different tests and want to go out and do well and get as far as we can in the tournament.”
Looking towards a return to Celtic duties tomorrow night at Paisley, Tierney is wary of the opposition and anticipates a tough challenge.
“You always get that bounce with a new manager.
“The players want to do well and will be out to impress him to try and get in his team going forward. It will be a tough game,” KT noted.
“They did well winning promotion and although they have changed their manager they already have points on the board and that shows they have something about them.
“But, of course, the aim is to get back on top of the table and to stay there as long as possible. It is one game at a time and that is St Mirren. We will be looking to take the three points there and from there to try and go on the sort of run we are capable of.
“All the boys who have been away on international duty will have to get back and get their recovery in before we start to look to St Mirren.”
Tierney understands that each player – including himself, especially with Emilio Izaguirre making a welcome return to to the Celtic squad – needs to be at their very best to ensure that they remain in the first eleven selected by a very demanding manager in Brendan Rodgers.
“There is quality in the squad and in every position, but that is Celtic for you.
“If you are not working hard enough or playing to your best then there will always be somebody else there, waiting to take your place.
“There is no room for complacency at Celtic and that is what makes us a top team and why every Celtic player aspires to be the best we can be.”