Alan Brazil: Could Celtic’s Kieran Tierney really say no to Manchester United?

Celtic owner Dermot Desmond (left) with Chief Executive Peter Lawwell (PA)
Celtic owner Dermot Desmond (left) with Chief Executive Peter Lawwell (PA)

I would have walked over broken glass to play for Celtic as a kid.

Kieran Tierney was obviously the same way.

That’s why the Hoops star is talking about staying at Parkhead for life after penning a bumper six-year deal.

It’s the kind of chat Celtic fans will absolutely lap up, and no wonder. He’s a fantastic player and still only 20.

But forget about Kieran Tierney staying for life. While you’re at it, forget about six years, too.

The truth is, I reckon the Bhoys star’s resolve could be tested within six months.

And more to the point, Celtic’s will to keep him will be examined as well.

You don’t turn in the kind of big-stage performances Kieran has been doing without attracting attention.

He has shone domestically, he has shone in the Champions League and he has shone at international level.

Celtic breaks record that has stood since World War One

That makes him a very enticing prospect for some very big teams.

Everbody knows Jose Mourinho is looking to strengthen Manchester United at left-back.

Let’s just say the United gaffer has a look at Tierney, thinks to himself: “He’s my guy,” and slaps in a £25-million offer.

Does Celtic Chief Executive Peter Lawwell knock that back because Kieran Tierney is happy at Celtic?

Does major shareholder Dermot Desmond let him do it?

Not a chance.

So let’s assume that Jose’s offer is accepted, and the ball is in Kieran’s court.

Does he really look at the chance of a move to Manchester United, the chance to play under one of the best managers in the world, on the biggest stage week-in, week-out, testing himself against the best – and say : ‘No’, because he’s happy at Celtic?

I don’t think so – and I should know.

I was at Tottenham Hotspur when Manchester United came calling for me, and there was no way I was turning them down.

You just don’t do it.

Thinking about Kieran Tierney potentially staying at Celtic for his entire career puts me in mind of Paul McStay.

Defender Kieran Tierney remembers the start of Celtic’s unbeaten run very well

The parallels are obvious.

Both Tierney and McStay are Celtic fans, both in love with the club, both steeped in its history and tradition.

McStay was good enough to play anywhere he wanted – and plenty of clubs wanted him.

He knocked them all back to stay at Celtic and become a legend.

That’s something to be, no doubt about it.

But there’s always that wee nagging thought about what Paul might have achieved had he moved on.

Let’s face it, Celtic were hardly setting the heather alight during his time at the club.

By contrast, Charlie Nicholas, who broke through around the same time as McStay, and was also a Celtic man through and through, took his chance to move when it came.

He went on to enjoy a good deal of success at Arsenal.

Malky Mackay set to give Celtic’s Callum McGregor first Scotland cap and put Kieran Tierney back in his more familiar position

I get the impression Kieran Tierney is so single-minded, he won’t be thinking about McStay or Nicholas, or anything like that.

He’ll be completely focused on listening to Brendan Rodgers and improving his own game.

But the time will come when he will be faced with the same decision Paul and Charlie were.

Will he stick around at Celtic, or try his luck elsewhere?

Only the kid himself will know what feels right in the moment.

But I reckon we’ll all be finding out which way he really wants to go sooner rather than later.

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