Of the very best level. It’s not a term to throw around lightly. Nor has it been applied to many Scottish regulars this side of the new millennium.
But Craig Gordon has no hesitation in applying such superlatives to a former Celtic teammate who has risen several levels since moving to Arsenal.
It’s fair to say that Kieran Tierney, who put two goals on a board for John McGinn and played a supporting role in Che Adams coming off goal for Scotland, had a pretty decent night at Hampden.
Kieran Tierney scored two goals for John McGinn when Scotland beat the Faroe Islands
For Hearts goalkeeper Gordon, who has known the 23-year-old almost all his adult life, it did not come as a surprise.
“I thought he was incredible – and he’s evolved his game even further,” said the veteran.
He speaks so enthusiastically about the Arsenal coaching staff and how they have helped him develop.
For us, he has been excellent in the last three games – if not the highlight of every game.
‘He has been fantastic and hopefully we can keep him fit and continue to play at this level.
‘I think he’s world class, really. He’s so consistent too and that’s what makes him so good.
‘He does it in every game and he’s a great asset to us on and off the park.
“He’s also in charge of the music and he’s great for the camp, a really valued member of the squad.”
Tierney was a star when Scotland took the first win of their World Cup qualifying campaign
Gordon said some more detail on the improvement in Tierney since moving to London in 2019: ‘He’s been more consistent.
‘He has improved tactically and technically and plays against better players week after week. As a result, he has increased his level.
“I’ve seen him come through from 17 to where he is now – and he’s only going to get better.”
Tierney, who often found himself going beyond fullback Andy Robertson to reach the byeline and cut the ball back, admitted that he had – perhaps – gotten Steve Clarke’s permission to move forward a little further than the gaffer expected.
“ I think the manager probably wanted me to sit down a bit more, but there was nothing I could do about it sometimes, ” he admitted
“I did my best as always. I had a little more time to progress tonight so I enjoyed it.
‘Everyone knows that I like being tall and wide, putting crosses in it. That’s my game and I did a little bit of that tonight. ‘
Scottish goalkeeper Craig Gordon insisted the Arsenal defender is a ‘world class’ talent
Against the limited opposition compared to 2010-era Stoke City by double goalscorer John McGinn, most Scottish starters – and substitutes – played their part in a handsome victory.
Gordon, eager to join the squad for this summer’s European Championship at the age of 38, noticed some excellent response saves.
The keeper rated his own performance as’ good ‘:’ The zero, I had a save in the first half which was quite good and which I was happy with. I got the touch over the bar.
‘I also tried to keep everyone on their toes and make sure everyone did their job right in front of me, which I usually did.
There were a few shots from the edge of the box and set pieces would always be their great threat.
‘We were able to keep them out. We knew we would have to deal with that.
Everyone must now go back to their club and put in a good performance to stay in the manager’s mind for the European Championship and for the warm-up matches.
McGinn set Scotland on his way before entering Tierney’s cross for his second of the night
Whatever camp we can get in advance, depending on what the rules state at the time, we will come together and everyone will be desperate to get on that squad.
“It’s a great end to the season for all of us to keep fit and impress the manager.
‘All we have to do is look forward to the euro and tell us about ourselves as best we can.
“We’re going in there and everyone will try their best to qualify for the group.”
Che Adams has arguably done enough, in two starts, to secure himself a spot in the yet to be confirmed warm-up matches.
Scoring that first goal is huge for a striker, Gordon testifies: “You could see how happy he was to get off the goal.
He was a little frustrated when he came in at half time that he hadn’t reached his goal.
Che Adams scored his first goal in Scotland to boost his chances of playing at the European Championship
‘But that’s great. He had the appetite to go back and get one.
‘It was also a good ending. I was right behind it. It was all in the mail.
‘He’s a good striker. We’ve seen it in training. He is a qualitative addition to the team.
“We feel like we are really coming together and have a little firepower to score goals in this World Cup campaign.”
Adams admitted that reaching the goal so early in his international career was a relief, saying: ‘It was a great feeling to see the goal hit.
‘I have often been in that position at club level, the first goal gives you confidence.
‘We’re just looking forward to the summer and see what that will bring.
“That’s definitely the focus for me, getting the club level right and the rest will take care of itself.”