THE only debate to be had now about Kieran Tierney isn’t whether he’s the real deal or not but how far back do we need to go to name the last Scottish player who was as good as the Celtic man is at the age of 20.

This is subjective more than scientific of course; however, those of us who have watched this still young footballer progress from a teenager who couldn’t last 90 minutes to the youngest captain of his club, there is little point in playing down what the lad from Motherwell can achieve.

So, for a bit of fun, who is he comparable to?

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Charlie Miller’s career did not go the way it should have hoped but the former Rangers midfielder was outstanding at the age Tierney is now. So, too, Duncan Ferguson, Eoin Jess, Barry Ferguson, John Collins, Paul McStay and Charlie Nicholas.

Apart from Duncan Ferguson, the above mentioned were voted Young Player of the Year and went on to do well, some more than others, and what can’t be denied was that as they came out of their teens they really looked the part.

For me, of all the names on that list only McStay was as good at 20-years-old as Tierney who rather fittingly was discovered by Paul’s dad John who sadly passed away recently.

Every club in the Premier League is watching him. But they are all going to be disappointed for a few years because while a move to Arsenal, and remember that was a possibility before Brendan Rodgers came in, would be hard to turn away, this is someone living a dream.

The badge thumping isn’t a gimmick. It comes from the heart. Tierney has the attitude, professionalism, skill, temperament, leadership and, if we go by Tuesday night’s thumping of Kilmarnock, a shot on him like Robert Carlos.

He doesn’t drink, he hangs about with his pals from school and in the last 12 months has matured considerable when asked to fulfil his media duties as he did after the Kilmarnock Betfred Cup match when it was put to him that Rodgers believed the captain for the night would one day hold the position permanently when Scott Brown eventually steps aside.

“That means everything,” said Tierney. “The manager has been great with me from the first day he’s come in. To hear him say that is just brilliant for me. I just need to keep level-headed and take everything as it comes.

“It was a real honour for me to captain the team. Broony was obviously suspended for the game but I felt the whole team did well.”

And now Tierney has added spectacular goals to his repertoire. He’s never going to be a Tommy Gemmell, the great man was a one-off, but when you can hit the ball with the same force as the Lion and it ends up in the top corner, from 40 yards as he did on Tuesday, then it’s not a bad string to add to his bow.

“When you’re in the centre of the park it’s easier to get shots away with your left foot” he said. “I had a bit of space and just thought to myself ‘why not?’ It’s definitely the best goal I’ve ever scored. I just felt like I’d hit it sweet – in fact I didn’t even feel it connecting with my foot at all! Although, I hadn’t ever done it before so I didn’t know how it felt to strike a ball like that before. But I was buzzing to get it.”