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Arsenal’s Kieran Tierney reminds Terry Neill of Cole and ‘Little Ant’ Bertie

© Martin Dalton/ShutterstockKieran Tierney in action for Arsenal
Kieran Tierney in action for Arsenal

Ever since he broke into Celtic’s first team under Ronny Deila in 2015, Kieran Tierney has never had to endure a season without silverware.

He will be looking to keep that streak going on Saturday when Arsenal conclude their campaign by meeting Chelsea in the FA Cup Final at Wembley.

Win or lose, though, Gunners legend, Terry Neill, believes the Scotland star has already made his mark in the Premier League.

Indeed, the former Arsenal skipper and FA Cup-winning manager claims he’s the best left-back the North London club have had since Ashley Cole left for Chelsea in 2006.

And Neill reckons that, in time, Tierney could be even better than the 107- times-capped Englishman.

“Kieran has been brilliant for us, and the more I see him, the more I like him,” said Neill, who was manager when Arsenal won the FA Cup in 1979, and famously scored a winning goal for Northern Ireland against England at Wembley seven years earlier.

“He comes across as a level-headed young lad, very self-effacing and that’s surely down to his family and friends and the way he was brought up.

“Ashley Cole was superb. He was a great player.

“It’s obviously still early days with Kieran but, from what I’ve seen so far, I’ve been immensely impressed.

“Let’s not forget that Kieran is still only 23, and he’s not nearly as good yet as he’s going to be.

“Every time I see him play, he looks better than the time before, so there’s even more to come from him.

“But it’s not just his performances that I’ve been taken by.

“Football, and life, is about more than just the odd flash of talent, and when I hear Kieran being interviewed on television, he seems such a grounded individual.

“His mental strength stands out as well, so he was clearly well-schooled at Celtic.”

Tierney collected eight major trophies with his boyhood heroes, but he’s thirsty for more in England.

“Well, it’s obvious that he didn’t get carried away by winning all those consecutive title wins at Parkhead,” said Neill.

“We haven’t met yet, but I’m looking forward to the day that happens and establishing a connection between Belfast and Celtic!

“I’m looking forward to a little one-on-one with Kieran.

“He’s worked hard to get where he is, but he still comes across as a smashing guy and I’d love to have a chat with him.

“I go to most of the games at the Emirates, and I thought we’d have crossed paths by now.

“But if I have to go down to the training ground to see him, then I will because I can’t wait to meet him.

“Over the years, I’ve known Celtic legends like Charlie Tully, Billy McNeill and Danny McGrain.

“Great footballers but also great men which, at the end of the day, is much more important.

“Bertie Peacock was another. He was one of my greatest mentors, first as a team-mate in the Northern Ireland team and then as the manager.

“I loved the man dearly and, at his funeral, I had the privilege of carrying his coffin.

“Bertie was widely adored because he was brilliant on the pitch, but also a humble man.

“Kieran is cut from the same cloth.”