I’ll count my medals af­ter I chuck away my boots!

Tier­ney just fo­cused on his next prize

Sunday Mail (UK) - - Mail Sport - Craig Swan

Kieran Tier­ney knows his his­tory. But for just a cou­ple of hours to­day, he’ll choose to ig­nore it.

The Celtic de­fender and his team- mates head for Ham­p­den look­ing to ex­tend an as­ton­ish­ing run of do­mes­tic suc­cess.

Bren­dan Rodgers’ troops can win a seventh- suc­ces­sive Scot­tish honour, equalling a land­mark set by Wal­ter Smith’s Rangers team of 1994, if they see off Aberdeen at the Na­tional Sta­dium.

The last six wins have been as­ton­ish­ing. Rodgers’ first three came at the end of an In­vin­ci­ble sea­son.

And last term their clean sweep com­pleted an unique Dou­ble Tre­ble.

Tier­ney has savoured ev­ery sec­ond of the spell but is adamant it’ll get blanked from his mem­ory the mo­ment he ar­rives at Ham­p­den. As a Celtic player, there’s no time for bask­ing on past glo­ries.

It’ s about the next honour, the next suc­cess, and keep­ing the hunger and drive to set new

bench­marks. Tier­ney said: “It won’t be un­til we fin­ish play­ing that we’ll re­alise what this pe­riod has been like.

“But there is still an aw­ful lot for us to achieve here at Celtic.

“It would not be a good thing if I start think­ing about what we have done in the past cou­ple of years.

“I choose to look for­ward, not back. We have won six tro­phies in a row but that doesn’t mat­ter now.

“Go­ing into this fi­nal no one cares about the pre­vi­ous six. It’s all about this one now. All about be­ing ready.

“That’s how the play­ers have to think and it’s the same with the fans.

“We want to win ev­ery­thing we pos­si­bly can and this is an­other great chance for us.”

While stay­ing fo­cused and star­ing for­ward is im­por­tant, there is no doubt Celtic’s re­cent Ham­p­den record is a huge fac­tor.

Rodgers has won on all eight of his vis­its – with the Dons falling vic­tim twice at the Na­tional Sta­dium.

Tier­ney copped an el­bow in the face from Jay­den Stock­ley the last time he took on the Dons at Ham­p­den but rel­ishes his trips across Glas­gow.

He said: “When you go to Ham­p­den, you know that you are

there for a big oc­ca­sion. It’s a game I’m look­ing for­ward to and the fans as well.

“Hav­ing my face smashed (in the 2017 Scot­tish Cup Fi­nal) would be low down on the list of best Ham­p­den mo­ments yet the end of that day was some­thing spe­cial as we won the Tre­ble.

“I’d say that was my best mem­ory at the sta­dium. You feel that wher­ever you go, you must have the con­fi­dence to play and that is what the man­ager has built into us.

“He wants us to per­form any­where and Ham­p­den is an­other big pitch.

“It suits the way we play and we’ve had great re­sults there in the past but we’ll take noth­ing for granted.

“It is go­ing to be tough against Aberdeen as they al­ways make it a hard game.

“We won 1-0 at Celtic Park last time we met and they beat us the time be­fore that – it shows it’s not go­ing to be easy. No one takes Aberdeen lightly. It’s go­ing to be dif­fi­cult.” Tier­ney is right to af­ford the Dons full re­spect, yet Celts could not be in bet­ter form go­ing into the show­piece. Fol­low­ing a run that has taken them to the top of the Premier­ship ta­ble, the Hoops de­feated Rosen­borg in Trond­heim on Thurs­day night to move to the brink of qual­i­fi­ca­tion in the Eu­ropa League. Tier­ney said: “We’ve had a few bad nights in the Eu­ropa League and got a bit of stick but the way we’ve bounced back w i th

two wins in a row shows our char­ac­ter. The first half in Rosen­borg was ob­vi­ously a bit more com­fort­able than the sec­ond but what it did show was that we can do both sides.

“They put pres­sure on us in the last 10 or 15 min­utes of the game and we dealt with that.

“We lim­ited them to very few chances, which is great. Vic­to­ries and clean sheets in Europe are great.

“It’s great to play along­side peo­ple like Dedryck Boy­ata, Filip Benkovic and Mikael Lustig in de­fence. “They are ter­rific play­ers who cover me when I need it and it’s great to know that they have my back. “De­fen­sively, when you lose goals, the full team takes the stick.

“That has to be the same when the team is keep­ing clean- sheets. It has to be about ev­ery­one.

“It’s not just the back four and the keeper, it’ s through­out the team with the work-rate at the top of the pitch that makes our lives eas­ier.

“I play in a de­mand­ing po­si­tion, there’s a lot of run­ning to do, but I en­joy the chal­lenge and this is an­other mas­sive game.

“It’s crazy in a way how there was a mas­sive game on Thurs­day and an­other one now.

“You just need to deal with it. There hasn’t been a lot of time to re­cover but we’ll do our best.

“We stayed in Nor­way on Thurs­day night and that meant we weren’t go­ing into train­ing on Fri­day hav­ing had half a sleep, so it’s re­ally pro­fes­sional. It needs to be to per­form at a high stan­dard.”

No-one cares about past six .. it’s about this one now

SUM BOY Tier­ney, with Leigh Grif­fiths and Scott Brown af­ter win in Nor­way, isn’t count­ing medals

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