KIERAN Tierney is the second youngest player to captain both Celtic and Scotland, the honours coming within a week of each other.

Nobody has played more games or picked up more medals before their 21st birthday in the Parkhead club’s 130-year history. Today at Tynecastle will be his 128th appearance for Celtic, and the Scottish Cup, if Motherwell are defeated, will be his sixth major title.

He is the first to win PFA Scotland’s Young Player of the Year three times in succession. Or to put it another way, his first three seasons as a professional have all ended with an overwhelming vote from his peers.

And now Tierney will collect the Scottish Football Writers’ Association’s Young Player of the Year award in association with DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, for the third time in a row at next Sunday’s dinner in Glasgow.

“It’s mad, isn’t it?” laughs Tierney who is as grounded now as when he cleaned the boots at Lennoxtown. “A lot of people see me as being older than I am. That’s three seasons I’ve been playing regularly for Celtic and that’s a long time. But I still see myself as being young and having a lot to learn. I’ve been around the dressing-room and seen a lot of people come

and go.”

The fear among Celtic fans is that Tierney, very much one of their own, will one day go. And that day may well come soon. Bids will come in for him, but he is not someone desperate to leave. Not 21 until next month, he could stay at Celtic for the attempt at 10-in-a-row and then move on to England or Europe before his 24th birthday.

“The speculation has happened during most windows since I broke through. It’s good for me,” said the best player Scotland has produced in a long time. “If somebody wants to buy you then that means you are doing something right. When big teams are looking at you it’s flattering. It doesn’t bother me or distract me because I’m enjoying myself. I’m playing for Celtic so I’m happy. I’m not in any rush at all. I had four years left on my last contract and if I wanted to leave I would have chosen to run that down. Instead, when the club offered me six I was happy to sign.”

Only one player in a recognised European league has played more minutes this season than Tierney – his team-mate James Forrest.

It may not be sensible to travel to Peru and Mexico with Scotland this summer, yet, he would not say what the answer would be should Alex McLeish ask.

“I’m not sure what is going to happen,” Tierney said. “It’s been the most intense season yet for me and my body. I’ve played 50-odd games and, at 20, that’s not an easy thing to do but if I’m picked for Scotland I would always want to play. It’s not my call and it’s not for me to say what should happen. It will be the Scotland manager’s decision and I’m sure he will speak to our gaffer too.”