THE secondary school I attended sporadically from the mid-1980s boasted, during my time, the third largest number of pupils in the whole of Scotland.

It felt like there were 100,000 of us cramped inside the fences – Eton this was not – and all them, to me at least, scary as hell. You don’t know what fear is until a ned wearing an Ellesse trackie demands your lunch money.

It was a serious football school. The team a few years above us even won the Scottish Cup at Hampden.

On my very few best days I was okay. We had a good team and I had a bit of a go. I offered effort if little else. They were a brilliant bunch of guys, we always had a laugh, and a few of them could really play a bit.

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Greg Hood and Iain Nisbett were the year below me at primary and, even then, I could see these two were different. Both got picked up, by Ayr United and Aberdeen respectively.

I’ve lost touch with them, two good guys, and I hope they don’t mind me name-dropping them but in a very good team they really stood out.

As far as I know, they were the only boys to turn professional from my era and, remember, there would have been over 600 lads, most wanting to be a footballer, which shows how difficult it was to get noticed and how good you had to be.

Injury, bad luck and how football can go meant neither got to Real Madrid but at least they made it when the odds were stacked against them. Having done this job for so long, it’s given me far more of an appreciation of what my old team-mates achieved.

So, from my six years of secondary education, two in my team made it pro – I’m sure there will be a few more from around that time I don’t know – which is a tiny percentage given the numbers and the fact we had two full sized grass pitches.

It’s even more difficult now and even those with enough talent and character to make it to the first-team can have their dreams taken away by injury. John Kennedy springs to mind along with Alan McLaren, one of the best Scottish defenders I’ve ever seen, was more or less done at 26.

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This brings me to Kieran Tierney. Having got to know this exceptional young man over the last three years or so, I can state categorically that it would break his heart to leave Celtic. However, that doesn’t mean he won’t or shouldn’t this summer.

The dream scenario for supporters is their best player, the supporter who like Tommy Burns got lucky, stays for ten in a row. Hey, he might go on after that with the captain’s armband.

However, it’s nobody’s life but his. No supporter, blogger or lowly hack gets to tell another human being what to do. If Tierney stays, great. If he leaves for Arsenal, good luck to a genuinely good guy blessed with humility and a grounding which makes you root for him even more.

A five-year deal would earn him, with add-ons, bonuses, and the other things which come the way of top players, the best part of £20m. He would also get a signing on fee and when that hypothetical deal ends, would be 27 and theoretically at the park of his powers.

Or Tierney, already a Celtic legend, stays and becomes one of the all-time greats – and the club are already paying him “more money than I ever thought” as he admitted 12 months ago when clubs were circulating.

It’s not a bad position to be in for a working-class lad from Muirhouse in Motherwell.

Footballers can be seen to be greedy. There will be some Celtic supporters who would see Tierney as just that – he is a million mile from being money obsessed as it so happens – if a club did find £25m and he agreed to move.

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That’s nonsense. This is the man’s job. Most people, I’m sure, have left one place of work for another because it suited them. Professional football is no different.

What if he gets badly injured? Maybe this turns out to be his last opportunity to play for a top six English Premier League side for a life-changing wage. By that I mean, kids going to the best schools, a house on the Algarve and never again turning right on an aeroplane.

Tierney wouldn’t be comfortably off. He would be in the one per cent. Money isn’t everything, of course it isn’t, but who among us would hand on heart turn down such a chance?

It’s a fleeting career which can end at any moment. I don’t blame anyone for making the most of their playing days. Especially one of the good guys.

And Another Thing

KENNY MILLER might be 39 but there is at least one more season of playing first-team football left in those legs.

Having left Dundee this week, and now a free agent who has made enough money so not to worry too much about his next wage, the former Scotland striker would do a great job for most clubs, and he won't demand a ransom.

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Miller scored eight times for an awful Dundee team last season. He would get double figures for a better side and in the Championship, this veteran would run riot - even now.

Not only that, his professionalism on the training ground and in the dressing room would rub off on everyone.

For me, it makes perfect sense for a manager looking for a wise old head to give the man a call.

Miller has had an incredible career. Sure, he could frustrate at times, but who is anyone to argue with 276 goals from 861 appearances, which has won him ten medals on both sides of the border.

He played 35 times last season, not all starts, and there were games when he still ran his markers ragged. He could do the same again.

The Livingston job didn’t work but he made a good impression on the players during his brief time at the club.

Perhaps Gary Caldwell could give his old pal a shout. That Partick Thistle dressing room could do with Miller telling them what is and isn’t acceptable. But if Miller decides that it for him, he will bow out with pride.