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Injured Tierney savoured roaring on Celts in stands

Fighting fit: Kieran Tierney has recovered from injury and admitted his return against Rovers felt like another debut
Fighting fit: Kieran Tierney has recovered from injury and admitted his return against Rovers felt like another debut

By Andy Newport

Kieran Tierney has recalled with pleasure his return to being a Celtic fan during his time out injured.

The 19-year-old left-back was sidelined for three months from October due to an ankle injury which allowed a long-standing shoulder problem to be addressed.

The lifelong Hoops fan went back to watching away games among the Celtic supporters, who sung his name at Ibrox during the 2-1 win over Old Firm rivals Rangers on December 31.

It was a seamless return for Tierney against Albion Rovers in the William Hill Scottish Cup last month and, ahead of tomorrow's trip to St Johnstone, he spoke about experiencing football again as a supporter.

"I hadn't been at Ibrox as a fan for a good few years," he said. "To be back there on Hogmanay, especially with the win, was brilliant. I was in the Celtic tracksuit, I went with the squad. They were singing my name. We were in the front row, they've turned round and seen me and some of the other boys.

"I think the fans realise I support Celtic, just like them. They've seen that in other games - Thistle away and Kilmarnock away. I was just turning up as normal to support my team, and it felt good. I was still watching it at Ibrox as a fan but I was watching what the full-backs were doing, just so you can learn. You may as well use it as a benefit."

The Scotland international felt he was making his Celtic debut again when he returned against Rovers. He said: "It was like making my debut again, I had been out for so long. That was the first injury I had since breaking through and I felt brilliant (returning).

"The last two or three months have been hard. A lot of the times you are working harder than the boys who are training.

"It is game after game for them, then recovering. I was working hard in the gym so yes, I feel fit. I was always going to get my shoulder done eventually. We killed two birds with one stone there and there is nothing holding me back."

Celtic are 25 points clear of Rangers at the top of the table and look to extend their unbeaten domestic run since the start of the season to 29 games when they face Saints. Assistant manager Chris Davies, however, said: "We don't talk about the record.

"The motivation to be at a club like this, to play, to perform, is what we focus on. Winning the title as quickly as possible would be great, but it is not something we think about. It is just, 'Win the next game'. It will be a very tough game at the weekend."

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