Kieran Tierney has revealed that a litany of abuse and threats left him “broken-hearted” after his move from Celtic to Arsenal was confirmed last summer, including an incident where a supporter spray-painted the word “Judas” near his home.
Tierney, who spent 14 years at his boyhood club before a £25m move to north London, was called “a rat” by fans in the build-up to his departure, despite Celtic’s willingness to sell him.
Speaking on the Open Goal podcast, Tierney said: “It was just sad the way it ended. People turning and all that. Some people make it out to be what it’s not and it’s not that at all.
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“Weeks before when Arsenal had bid people were like that ‘you’re a rat if you go, you’re terrible, you’re never a Celtic fan’. I’m like ‘this is breaking my heart reading this’ and as soon as this gets announced it’s going to blow up. And the worst thing I did when it got announced was go on Twitter. Thousands of tweets, threats and all sorts.
“When I went home two days later after signing, there was spray paint on the walls, ‘Judas’ outside my bit.”
Tierney had become a crucial figure at Celtic, winning four league titles, and was named PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year three years in a row.
His introduction at Arsenal was problematic after a serious hernia injury left him sidelined for several months. However, a streak of impressive performances towards the end of the season saw the Scot secure his starting place under Mikel Arteta.
Tierney also praised the role of “proper leader” David Luiz for helping him to adapt during a tumultuous season that saw Unai Emery sacked and the club finish eighth in the Premier League before Arteta delivered unlikely success in the FA Cup.
“He is a legend, the biggest legend ever and I love him,” Tierney said. “He is so good with all the young boys, everybody loves him. He is a proper leader, even if he hasn’t got the armband he still leads.
“I signed the same day as David Luiz. He is a winner, a born winner. He was saying to me during the season when we were doing bad ‘we are going to win silverware this season, believe me’.
“He is about motivational speeches and all that, when he talks everybody listens.
“He said to me one game when I hadn’t had my best game. We drew, we should have been winning as it was a home game, he was like ‘don’t worry, I’m the big name and I will take the pressure’.
“I was just sitting there, one of my first games it all went wrong, the fans were on us and we weren’t doing well. He just went: ‘don’t worry about it, you just keep playing your football and I will take the heat’.”