Scotland and Arsenal star Kieran Tierney has hailed Dundee United assistant boss Stevie Frail as “one of the best” coaches he has worked with.
Tierney has been earning rave reviews in the English Premier League and was an FA Cup winner with the Gunners earlier this month.
Speaking to the Open Goal podcast, the left-back who left Celtic for a reported fee of £25 million, praised Frail for helping him make it into the Hoops first team and playing a pivotal role in his development.
Tierney (23) also gave a name check to Gordon Young, who was number two to Mixu Paatelainen at Tannadice and stepped in as caretaker after the Finn left the club.
Young’s intervention when he was working at Motherwell seems to have spurred the Hoops on to keep him on when they had looked likely to let him go.
Tierney said: “Stevie Frail was one of the coaches of the 20s side at Celtic.
“I hadn’t been getting games for the 20s and I was just a wee guy who nobody knew.
“He was one of the best coaches I’ve worked with and was brilliant at the time for me.”
Tierney also reflected on how close he came to leaving Celtic Park.
He said: “I was fourth or fifth left-back for the 20s at one point.
“I had thought about getting a job with my dad.
“Gordon Young was head of youth at Motherwell at the time and he phoned my dad, who he knew.
“He said: ‘Kieran will start for us against Rangers – bring him in because we have heard he is not getting a deal.’
“I don’t know if that maybe triggered Celtic to give me a deal or not because they then offered me a one-year contract with expenses.
“I was never going to say no to that because that is what I wanted – to play (for Celtic).
“I then went in and signed and it was a brilliant day for me.”
Tierney’s debut for the Hoops, as an 81st-minute substitute, came against Dundee at Dens Park on April 22, 2015.
The visitors won 2-1 and he enjoyed it more than his teammates, it seems.
Little wonder, given he had missed out on a previous debut after breaking his leg the day before.
He explained: “I had made the bench for a match against Ross County then the manager Ronny Deila said to me: ‘You are going to start against Partick Thistle on Wednesday.’
“I was buzzing.
“Then, the day before, we had to train indoors because the undersoil heating hadn’t been switched on and I ended up breaking my leg.
“I had been so high and was then so low.
“My debut turned out to be against Dundee away.
“I had been on the bench before and people had been saying: ‘You are going to get your debut.’
“I thought: ‘Oh no, don’t say that because I will be a nervous wreck.’
“I was just a wee, skinny boy
“Then I got the call and we were winning 2-0 at the time.
“There was then a counter-attack and they scored to make it 2-1. I was like: ‘Oh no, I can’t concede two goals in 10 minutes.’
“Thankfully, it finished 2-1 and after the game I was celebrating but the other lads were saying: ‘We just scraped it.’
“For me, it was brilliant.”