Neil Lennon defends sale of Kieran Tierney to Arsenal
Celtic manager Neil Lennon has defended the sale of left-back Kieran Tierney after the Scotland international completed a £25 million move to Arsenal on Thursday.
Tierney signed a five-year contract with the Gunners bringing an end to a 15 year association with Celtic.
Tierney began training with the Glasgow giants as a seven-year-old and went on to win four Scottish Premiership titles with the Hoops before leaving for North London this week.
His move to the Emirates was quite protracted but Lennon insisted that the 22-year-old had achieved everything he wanted to achieve with the club but added that he could understand why some fans were left confused by his departure.
“I can understand that point of view because they’re Celtic fans and all they see is Celtic, and with Kieran being such a fervent supporter of the club, they might find it difficult to comprehend why he would want to leave Celtic.
“But as he’s alluded to himself, he’s had a great time of it here and probably achieved everything that he’s wanted to achieve, and he’s just accepting a new challenge, a professional challenge as well as a personal challenge in his life as well.”
He added: “It’s understandable. It’s going to hurt us because we’re losing a very good player. These things crop up now and again in football. All teams sell good players eventually, and Kieran’s no different in that regard. It was protracted because we couldn’t agree a deal, but the deal’s done now and he goes with our best wishes.”
Tierney said that his decision to leave was one of the toughest choices of his life and he thanked supporters, staff and teammates for all their help during his time at Park Head.
"This is coming from the bottom of my heart! I don’t know how to even begin to put the last 15 years of my life into words," he wrote in a post on his Instagram.
"What you as fans have given me and my family I cannot repay you in any way possible and for that I am sorry. From the age of 7 I was lucky enough to play for the club I love and will continue to love till the day I die no matter what happens.
"Every single second of my Celtic career was a dream and I gave my all every single time I stepped onto that pitch, it’s honestly the least I could do for everyone involved at the club. There is to many people to thank individually so I don’t even know where to begin.
"Every single coach and staff member who has helped me on my way to getting where I am today I am so grateful for all the hours help you put into me making me a better player and a better person.
"My teammates have been the best I could possibly have asked for what a bunch of legends man who I’ll be supporting until the end. Where can I start with the fans? I tried my best to represent you every time I went onto that pitch. The relationship we had together and the memories we created and history we made was incredible.
"I will cherish every single second of it. 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.
"It has been the hardest day or two of my life and I really appreciate every single message of support from you all. This was not easy in any way shape or form. To end id like to mention the special relationship I had with the ultras who I have grown up with from BHOYS and Green Brigade.. the atmosphere yous create to help the team is massive and it helped me so much over the last few years.
"I thank u so much for these times together what we have achieved as a club the last few years isn’t possible without you and all the fans. This is not nearly enough of what I am feeling but I literally cannot put into words with the emotion I’m feeling towards you all but I hope I showed you every game that I was lucky enough to play. God bless???"