Earlier this month, Kieran Tierney picked up Celtic’s Young Player of the Year award at the club’s end of season awards ceremony.
Having taken Europe by storm with his dazzling displays from left-back, which will only fuel speculation of interest from some of the continent’s most elite clubs, still only aged 20, Tierney is undoubtedly a worthy winner.
Still eligible for the prize in the coming seasons, Tierney has every chance of being named the young player of the year a further few times.
However, instead of looking to the future, we are going to take this opportunity to see who won the prize in the years before the man the Hoops fans call KT, and where the previous winners are currently at in their careers.
2015/2016, 2016/2017 – Kieran Tierney
Unsurprisingly, last season after Celtic’s treble winning campaign, Tierney picked up the prize for the first time in his career after a stunning display from start to finish under Brendan Rodgers.
The previous year, in 15/16, Tierney also won the prize, meaning he has now picked up the famous accolade three years on the trot.
This may seem excessive, however, it is only a true reflection of what the young full-back has achieved in the game.
Aged only 20, Tierney has amassed over 120 appearances for his club, including nearly 30 games in Europe.
He has captained both his club and country, picking up nine Scotland caps so far, and is constantly touted as one of the brightest young talents in all of European football.
The only surprising thing is that Tierney has not actually won the club’s Player of the Year prize, although his consistent displays in a Celtic shirt have thrown him right in contention each time.
2014/2015 – Jason Denayer
Belgian centre-half Jason Denayer enjoyed the 14/15 campaign on loan at Celtic from Manchester City, picking up the Young Player of the Year award in his first season in professional football.
In Glasgow, Denayer earned his professional debut, and formed a formidable partnership with none other than the world’s most expensive defender, Virgil van Dijk.
Having won the league and cup double as a Celtic player, Denayer was not enticed enough to stay and has since enjoyed loan spells with both Galatasaray and Sunderland.
Still owned by City, Denayer is currently being loaned out to Galatasaray for the second time and has become a full Belgian international in the last couple of years.
2013/2014 – Darnell Fisher
English right-back Darnell Fisher picked up Celtic’s Young Player of the Year award in 13/14 having broken into the first team under Neil Lennon.
The man from Reading made 13 appearances for the Hoops that season, deputising for Mikael Lustig on occasions, and stayed at the club for a couple more seasons before moving on to Rotherham United.
Last summer, Fisher earned a move to Preston North End, where he has since become a regular starter for the Championship outfit.
Aged 24, the full-back is working well under Scotsman Alex Neil as the club continue to develop into a side close to being worthy of earning a play-off position.
2012/2013 – Victor Wanyama
Kenyan legend Victor Wanyama picked up the prestigious award back in 12/13, after a stunning campaign with the Hoops.
Wanyama only stayed for two seasons at Celtic, but enjoyed a wonderful career at that, winning three trophies and making nearly 100 appearances in the green and white.
That season, Wanyama famously bagged Celtic’s opening goal in their historic victory over Barcelona in the Champions League, towering over the opposition defence to head home a neat header from a Charlie Mulgrew corner.
Since winning the award, Wanyama earned a move to the Premier League with Southampton, developing the reputation as one of the most dominant central midfielders in the league.
He has since moved on to Tottenham Hotspur where he, and his teammates, continue to knock on the door of Europe’s elite, looking to join the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester City as one of the most feared teams on the continent.
John Hartson is right, as Celtic go backward to Ronny Deila level
Celtic are out of the Champions League following defeat to AEK Athens.
Celtic are out of the Champions League and it is certainly not a situation that has gone down well at Parkhead. Fans and pundits are not particularly livid at the manager Brendan Rodgers or the players, who undoubtedly gave it their all. But rather it is the Celtic board that is in the crosshairs.
The 2-1 defeat at AEK Athens last night has been seen coming for some time. Despite bringing in Odsonne Edouard in a club record deal this summer Celtic boss Rodgers has been calling for more investment for some time. With only Scott Bain tying up a permanent deal and Emilio Izaguirre returning, the transfer business at Celtic has been otherwise dire.
It was a subject touched upon by former Celtic player John Hartson. The Welshman, who played 201 times for the Bhoys scoring 109 goals, tweeted:
Scratching my head as to why the Celtic money men wouldn’t back a manager that has had so much success.. you have to keep moving forward.. in particular when you are so dominant financially!!
— John Hartson (@JohnHartson10) August 14, 2018
His point is valid. The hard work done by Celtic manager Rodgers to get them where they were at the start of the summer has now been undermined.
Sure, they are still dominating Scottish football, even if Steven Gerrard’s Rangers revival might have some itchy bums in seats.
But in terms of European football? Celtic are now no better off than they were when Ronny Deila got the boot in 2016.
It is hard to hear, but falling to a side like AEK is as comparable to Deila’s struggles against Legia Warsaw, Maribor or Malmo.
Celtic have gone backward from a position where it almost seemed impossible to do so. Hopefully, Rodgers sticks around for the fight.
One to watch: Celtic’s 19-year-old winger Daniel Arzani
Introducing The Boot Room’s 2018/19 One to Watch series…
Not many people saw Daniel Arzani menacing down the flanks of many an A-League pitch in the last 12 months.
Millions of people did, however, see the raw talent that the Australian possesses after three impressive cameos off the bench at this year’s World Cup – a tournament at which he was the youngest player.
And now he will head to Celtic on loan, playing in a league that will provide a sterner physical test while still allowing him to develop in the comfortable surroundings of a strong, attacking team.
An attribute that will be of vital importance in the fledgling stages of the 19-year-old’s career at Celtic is his ability to play on both wings.
At Melbourne City, he constantly changed flanks from game to game – and even during games.
On the right flank, he likes to use his speed to stretch the pitch and make runs to the by-line.
On the left, he enjoys using his incisive dribbling to move inside and head towards the penalty box.
He will be hoping to improve on his production though.
While impressive in the league, his record of two goals and one assist in 1,195 minutes is not particularly stellar.
In saying that, he has shown more than a few glimpses of the underlying raw talent needed to succeed at a higher level.
Socceroos coach Graham Arnold glowingly endorsed the move, telling reporters this week, “It’s a big move for the kid. He’s a very intelligent kid. He knows what his plan is”.
With the international retirement of Tim Cahill, many in Arzani’s native Australia are looking towards the 19-year-old to be the face of the next generation.
Weirdly, he will try to grow into that role out of the national spotlight in the confines of Glasgow, Celtic Park and the Champions League.
One to Watch: Celtic’s Kieran Tierney unstoppable down the flank in AEK draw
One to Watch pick Kieran Tierney impressed despite stalemate against AEK.
Celtic’s quest for Champions League football hit a hurdle as they draw 1-1 with AEK Athens at Celtic Park in the first leg of their qualifying tie.
Kieran Tierney, however, can feel absolved of much of the blame.
After being rested on the weekend in anticipation of this game, he looked fresh.
The Scottish full-back was unstoppable on the left-flank, as he constantly put pressure on an AEK defensively line trying to be compact as possible.
He did not allow them to be. He constantly bombarded down the wing, looking to stretch the defence, and he was consistently afforded the room to get into dangerous positions.
In the first half, he almost won a penalty with a direct run towards goal that the referee judged to be just outside the box
The Celtic defender was also instrumental in the build-up to the Hoops’ goal.
His foray into the box led to a deflected pass to Callum McGregor, who made no mistake smashing home to put Celtic ahead.
He also put in multiple dangerous crosses that slid through the penalty area without a Celtic player managing to get on the end of one.
In the second-half, Tierney moved to press forward even higher up the pitch after AEK were reduced to ten men early in the half.
With Celtic struggling to break the deadlock, they switched to a back three, moving the 21-year-old into a more defensive role.
But he continued to make forays forward as the Hoops camped themselves in the Greek side’s half for the final 20 minutes.
While Celtic were denied a first-leg advantage, Tierney will take great confidence into the second-leg after an all-round excellent performance.
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