Kieran Tierney has acknowledged that Celtic’s run of games this season has taken its toll on the Parkhead side this season.

Brendan Rodgers’ side started their season back in June as they sought to book their place in the UEFA Champions League group stages, with Tierney an ever present in the Hoops first-team from then until now.

While there is always a rush to judgement in the aftermath of a defeat, it is worth underlining that Celtic’s loss to Kilmarnock on Saturday afternoon was only the second domestic defeat in Rodgers’ 18-month tenure at the club.

What was notable about the defeat, however, was the lack of edge Celtic had as they toiled to force Jamie MacDonald into action throughout the game.

Tierney has been a mainstay in the team since breaking in under Ronny Deila and he conceded that the sheer volume of games that Celtic have went through has taken a toll.

“I think we have played a lot more games than anyone else and there are times when maybe we haven’t looked ourselves,” he said.

“We were able to get a break with the winter shutdown but it wasn’t as though we got too much time off. I think overall we had six days of a break.

“I think, too, that sometimes people look at it and see that we were away in Dubai but it wasn’t a holiday camp for us. We were over there and working pretty hard with lots of intense sessions put in.

“We aren’t complaining. It is what all the top teams have to cope with. We want to play European football as well as compete for domestic trophies so we know that we just have to get on with it.”

Celtic’s other major issue this term has been the injury problems that have cast a shadow across the season.

From the opening weeks of the campaign there has appeared to be a queue of players waiting in the treatment room.

While some of the longer-term problems are beginning to ease – Patrick Roberts is believed to be pushing for a place in the Scottish Cup squad to play Partick Thistle this weekend – their place has been by those needing medical assistance.

Leigh Griffiths and Craig Gordon were joined by Dedryck Boyata and Kristoffer Ajer at the weekend but Tierney has maintained that it is just about focusing on what Celtic have got rather than what they haven’t.

“You know that whoever plays is going to come in and give it their all,” he said. “No-one likes to get injured and be out of the team and I know how frustrating it can be. But for those of us who are fit and playing, all you can do is concentrate on going out and getting the wins that you want.”

Celtic will resume their European focus next week with the visit of Zenit St Petesburg in the first leg of the Europa League.

The Hoops will host the opening tie before heading for the return game a week later and Tierney is keen to continue his tutelage against Continental opposition.

Having squeezed out of the Champions League group to parachute into Europe’s second tier tournament, few would expect Celtic to prevail over the course of two legs given the significant resources of their Russian opponents.

Zenit will have a partial closure enforced on their stadium when Rodgers’ side travel to St Petersburg for the return leg. The punishment was handed down by Uefa in response to the club’s supporters holding up an offensive banner showing support for Ratko Mladi?, a Bosnian Serb war criminal, during their home victory over Vardar. The club were found to be guilty of racist behaviour by the governing body and ordered to pay a €12,000 fine as well shutting off part of Krestovsky Stadium for their Round of 32 home match.

For Tierney, though, it is all about what goes on during the two-pronged tie that will count.

Zenit will go into the game on the back of a three-month break and with little in the way of competitive football before the games are played, something that could well work in Celtic’s favour.

“One of our aims this season was to make sure that we were involved in European football after Christmas,” he said. “These will be tough games. We know that they are a right good team and we have to go out and see if we can keep a clean sheet and get something to take over there for the second leg.

“Anything can happen. Hopefully the experience of playing in the Champions League these past two seasons can help us as a team. I certainly feel as though I have benefitted from playing at that level.

“But Zenit are an excellent team. They have some great players and we know that if we want to take anything then we need to be at or best.

"Guys like Moussa [Dembele] and Scott [Brown] have shown that they are big name players in this kind of environment. We know that we hae guys here who can rise to the occasion and that is what we will be looking to do."