At the age of 11, Kieran Tierney was just another young hopeful at Celtic, caught on film in wide-eyed wonder as Shunsuke Nakamura handed him a pair of boots on the Parkhead bench.

By the age of 17, he had made his first-team debut, going on to become a mainstay in the Celtic side, of course, and attracting scouts from no fewer than 17 English clubs to watch him strut his stuff in the Champions League against Bayern Munich.

By the age of 20, he was pulling on the armband as Scotland captain. And the most striking thing about Tierney as he led the Scotland team out at Pittodrie last night? It wasn’t the fact that he had been handed the honour at such a tender age. It was that he looked every inch a Scotland captain.

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An injury to Scott Brown led to this outstanding young man from Motherwell becoming the youngest Scotland captain since Darren Fletcher against Estonia in 2004.

He emerged from the tunnel with his chest puffed out and a steely-eyed gaze, and despite the narrow defeat on the night, he could hold his head high at the end of a night where he did himself proud as he led his nation for the first time.

Tierney started with real assurance, playing on the left of a central defensive partnership and leading a man of far greater experience in Christophe Berra.

It was the first time Tierney had been in a two-man partnership at the heart of defence for Scotland, although he had played on the left of a three-man backline with his country before in the draw with England in June.

Primarily of course, he was used as a right-back by previous manager Gordon Strachan, but like his earlier moves to those positions, the Celtic youngster handled this latest shift like a duck to water.

It was Tierney who was charged with bringing the ball out from the back, and his long balls early in the game almost proved a profitable avenue for the Scots as Matt Phillips latched onto a couple of his passes to get in behind the Dutch defence, but to no avail.

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Still, he was crunching into tackles with his customary gusto, and the biggest problem he had in the early knockings of the game didn’t come from the running of lone Netherlands striker Ryan Babel, but from defensive partner Berra, who inexplicably stuck the nut in the back of Tierney’s.

If he was dazed by that, the speed of the counter-attack that saw the Dutch hit the front wouldn’t have helped to steady him.

There was nothing he or anyone in the dark blue could do as the Scots were caught out just before the interval, as a poor Callum McGregor pass allowed the Dutch to break at pace and Ryan Babel found Memphis Depay unmarked in the area to prod the visitors in front. But no sooner had the ball hit the net than Tierney was cajoling those around about him to get a reaction.

Given their literal meeting of minds earlier in the night, Tierney may have been relieved to see a change beside him for the second half, as Berra made way for former Celtic defender Charlie Mulgrew, but he remained composed and was invariably the one mopping up and keeping things tidy at the back.

His best attacking moment came when he lasered a long ball over the top of Nathan Ake to release Ryan Fraser in behind on the right, with the Bournemouth man just failing to convert.

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Alas, for all his promptings and encouragement, this youthful Scotland side couldn’t be roused quite enough to conjure up an equaliser despite a promising enough display on the whole.

And it was a mature display from Kieran Tierney, Scotland skipper. Words that you may be hearing a lot soon, one suspects, on this evidence.

Whether his long-term future is at centre-half for his country though remains to be seen. There is no doubt that his deployment at the heart of the defence blunts perhaps his greatest asset, his attacking threat down the left-hand side of the pitch, but he handled most of what came at him with the minimum of fuss. He has the defensive capabilities to play there, in what is a real problem area for the country. But is the loss of his swashbuckling attacking talents too great a price to pay to have him plugging that hole?

The two conundrums facing whoever the new Scotland manager proves to be then surrounding Tierney is how to get both he and Liverpool left-back Andy Robertson into the team while getting the best out of both of them, and whether or not to allow him to keep the armband.

A huge factor in that decision will be the presence of current Celtic teammate and captain Scott Brown. If the midfielder decides to prolong his international career for one last campaign, then he will surely carry on in his role until the time he decides to call it a day.

But one thing seems sure in the tale of Tierney’s stratospheric rise to the top. At some point in the near future, he will assume both of those mantles from Brown, Celtic and Scotland captain, and richly deserved it will be. By the age of 25, well, who knows where Kieran Tierney will be?