AS a lifelong Celtic supporter himself, Kieran Tierney can empathise with the state of shock that his club’s supporters are in following the sudden departure of manager Brendan Rodgers. And while he can’t endorse the sentiment of the banners they displayed in the away ends of Tynecastle and Easter Road over the past week or so, he can fully understand why they have been left feeling so hurt.

In time, he believes that the impact of Rodgers on Celtic – and Scottish football as a whole - will come to be appreciated, but in truth, that is not really his concern. His main focus at the moment is simply on Celtic and moving the club ever forward towards an unprecedented ‘treble treble’, and he has called upon the supporters to get behind that aim as they transition to a short-term future at least under Neil Lennon.

“The fans are hurting,” said Tierney. “That’s quite clear to see. But I think we now need to focus on Celtic. What’s done is done. The fans’, players’ and manager’s focus is just on Celtic now.

“We have nine league games and left and hopefully two in the cup. It’s gone now. We had such a successful time and we wish [Brendan Rodgers] all the best. What we achieved over the last two-and-a-half years was crazy but we have a big end to the season now. There is no point in dwelling on the past. We need to look forward.

“He texted the boys after he left and wishes us all the best for the future. We thank him for all he has done as he’s helped me become a much better player and professional.

“The standards he set changed football up here and we wish him all the best.”

While Tierney is diplomatic about his former boss, you have a feeling that the timing of his exit may have stung him, even if he isn’t about to show it.

“It all happened so quickly with the turnover and there was shock,” he said. “It surprised everybody. I woke up on Tuesday morning and it had happened.

“My pals were asking me on the Monday night if the rumour was true. I just said to them, ‘I don’t know, I can’t tell you anything’. Then the next morning it was as if it just happened overnight. It was all so quick.

“You didn’t even have time to think about what had happened because there were two massive games against Hearts and Hibs.

“We just had to get on with it, get the wins and I don’t think we could have reacted much better than we did.”

Tierney is delighted that the man chosen to steer the Celtic ship through the choppy waters of the immediate post-Rodgers era was Lennon, a man he has looked up to since he was a boy, and who he was overjoyed to share a moment of celebration with at Tynecastle after his first game back in charge.

“That was brilliant - a class moment,” he said.

“The way the game was written in the stars after the previous couple of days. It was crazy. One of the best feelings I’ve ever had on a football pitch.

“The new manager has been here before and knows the club inside out. He was someone I always looked up to and to have one of your heroes as manager is great for me. To have a manager who knows Celtic, the game and the league so well made it a lot easier for us.

“When I was coming through the academy, he was manager in his first spell. I was dead nervous around him and I’d ask for pictures with him.

“He won’t remember me from those days. And I won’t bring it up either...I’d just embarrass myself.”

Late last year, after playing around 170 games in just three years - and every one at his trademark breakneck speed - something eventually had to give for Tierney. As it turned out, it was his hip.

A two-month layoff straddling the festive season has him back to his exhilarating best though, and one man who will be pleased by that is Scotland manager Alex McLeish.

And despite his recent layoff and the prospect of such a gruelling journey for qualifiers in Kazakhstan and San Marino later this month, Tierney has every intention of answering his country’s call.

“I’m ready to go,” Tierney said.

“In the Scotland camp, if I’m chosen, it is two games in a week and I’ll be ready for it. The physios will talk to each other and discuss. But I am ready to train and play.

“If I’m fit, I want to play every game for club and country. I’m ready.”