KIERAN TIERNEY could be forgiven for feeling blase about another major achievement but he admitted he was shocked when Malky Mackay handed him the Scotland armband.
The 20-year-old led out his country for the first time ahead of Thursday’s 1-0 friendly defeat against Holland in the absence of the injured Scott Brown and Darren Fletcher.
The defender has already skippered Celtic and helped his boyhood heroes to a treble as well as being a Champions League regular.
The Lanarkshire-raised player signed a new six-year contract last week but he is still revelling in every new honour and experience that comes his way.
“It was an incredible feeling when the gaffer told me he was going to make me captain,” he said. “I was surprised, I am so young, but it’s great faith he showed in me and I really appreciate that.
“It’s a massive honour. That’s me captained club and country and it doesn’t get much bigger than that. I’m really grateful for the chances I have been given.
“It’s crazy. I just try to work hard every single day, keep level-headed. That’s all I can do, and where it takes me, it takes me.”
The left-back has played on the right flank of Scotland’s defence for most of this year but lined up in central defence alongside against Holland. And Tierney was among the best of his side’s players, setting up several attacks with long balls as well as putting in good blocks at the back.
Holland struggled to break Scotland down but Memphis Depay netted from what looked an offside position after the hosts were caught on the break five minutes before half-time.
Tierney said of his role: “I have played it a couple of times, maybe I’m a bit more used to it as a back five, but wherever I’m told to play, I will try my hardest.”
Caretaker boss Mackay handed debuts to Callum McGregor, Ryan Christie, Ryan Jack and late substitute Jason Cummings.
The Scottish Football Association performance director will immediately return to his main job, and will stay there for the time being after chief executive Stewart Regan ruled him out of the running to replace Gordon Strachan in a badly timed radio interview hours before kick-off.
But Mackay feels he has helped lay foundations for a new-look Scotland side.
“That’s the group that have the jersey,” Mackay said. “Why that group can’t go on and get 50 caps each I do not know, if they keep that belief and the club atmosphere in there.”