Kieran Tierney’s move to Arsenal is a “fairy-tale” according to ex-Celtic team-mate Scott Brown, who believes the left-back’s transfer would have been widely celebreated at other clubs.
Tierney completed his long-awaited move to Gunners on the Premier League transfer deadline day, securing a £25 million ($30m) switch from the Scottish Premiership champions.
The 22-year-old ended his long affiliation with Celtic, having joined their youth system in 2005 and featuring exclusively for the club until his move to London.
Tierney wrote a goodbye on social media which included a message to fans he felt will never forgive his departure, saying: "I hope we can continue to have a relationship although I understand that will be never for some people, which is heartbreaking for me but I understand the emotions surrounding this situation."
While there may be some discontent among the Celtic faithful over Tierney’s exit, especially as Champions League qualifiers loom, Brown says the team as whole are thrilled for the defender.
“All the lads are delighted for him,” Brown told reporters. “He got a fantastic move and he’s got a fantastic club as well.
“He loves this club so much that it was a hard thing for him to do, but he’s going down to England, he’s going to play against the best players week in, week out and he’s going to be in Europe as well. Here’s hoping we get to the Champions League though.
“But we all wish him the best, he has been a fantastic servant to the club.
“When you look at it, he came through the youth, he has supported Celtic all the way through, he has not cost the club a penny and we have sold him for £25 million.”
Brown believes it is hard to ask for a better outcome, and though Tierney wasn’t afforded a massive send-off, the 34-year-old believes an opportunity for him to return will be on the cards eventually.
“For me personally, it should be a fairy-tale story. When you look at Ajax and other teams like that, when they sell players that have come through the youth and given so much to the club, they have a big, massive party on the street and all the fans come out and cheer.
“It’s sad that we couldn’t all wish him a farewell at Celtic Park but I’m sure he will be back up.”
Celtic manager Neil Lennon confirmed Tierney has stopped by to see his old team-mates and coaches, and acknowledged the cycle of players leaving and new ones stepping up in their stead is part of the game.
“He popped in and everyone was delighted to see him,” Lennon said. “He got a nice farewell from the players.
“It was emotional for him obviously, but the players get on with it now. That’s what you do, you move on.
“He’s going to be a big miss obviously but there’s an opportunity there for someone else to take on the mantle now.”
Celtic have started their Premiership title defence off with a pair of wins but will look to move into the next round of Champions League qualifying on Tuesday when they face Romanian side CFR Cluj at home, following a 1-1 draw in the first leg.
Meanwhile, Tierney will hope for his Arsenal debut when the Gunners face Burnley on Saturday.