CELTIC bosses revealed they did everything they could to prevent £25million Kieran Tierney leaving the eight-in-a-row champions.
The 22-year-old Scotland international left-back finally brought a halt to the long-running transfer saga when he penned a five-year contract this afternoon to join Arsenal.
Tierney is now the most expensive Scottish footballer in history after the record-breaking switch from Parkhead to the Emirates.
The defender has not played since undergoing a double hernia operation in the summer, but there were no hitches with his medical at the London club today.
Celtic issued a statement which read: “We did all we could to keep Kieran at Celtic. While the club did not need or wish to sell Kieran, this was an opportunity which Kieran very much wished to pursue and with the club having received a significant offer, we have agreed to the transfer.
HOOP HOOP HOORAY…Kieran Tierney leads the celebrations following the 2-1 win over Hearts at Tynecastle in February.
“Kieran has been a big part of the club for a number of years, coming through our Academy structure and becoming a key first team player of real quality.
“He has made a significant contribution to Celtic and we thank him very much for all he has given to the club and, of course, we wish him very well for the future in his career.”
Boss Neil Lennon added: “This is an opportunity Kieran wanted to take and, while we will be sad to see him leave the club, we wish Kieran all the very best for the future.
“Although he is still a young guy, Kieran has given the club so much. He’s a great lad and I’ve really enjoyed working with him. I’m sure he will continue to progress and develop and make a big impact in the English Premiership.
“It has obviously been a long process, but now it has been finalised we can now look ahead and concentrate on continuing to build our own squad and meet the many challenges ahead, domestically and in Europe.”
The fans’ favourite kicked off his route to his remarkable transfer on the evening of April 22 2015 when he made his first appearance for his boyhood favourites against Dundee at Dens Park in front of 8,908 fans.
START OF THE ADVENTURE…Tierney comes on for Emilio Izaguirre against Dundee for his debut in April 2015.
KT was introduced for Emilio Izaguirre nine minutes from time – and it was the start of something special for the teenager.
Ronny Deila made the change with the champions leading 2-0 through goals from Gary Mackay-Steven and Virgil van Dijk.
There was a fright near the end when Jim McAlister claimed a consolation for Paul Hartley’s outfit, but the Hoops were not to be undone as they moved eight points clear of Aberdeen in the title race on their way to their fourth successive crown.
On May 15, Tierney started his first game in a goalless draw against St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park and he took his Parkhead bow in a 2-0 Premiership victory over Ross County on August 1 where Leigh Griffiths, with a penalty-kick, and Stefan Johansen marked the occasion with the goals.