Hopefully you’ve all read the first FM18 piece I wrote, but if not I mentioned in it that I’ll throwing all my FM focus behind my homeland, Scotland. I’m a big advocate of Scottish football and believe it doesn’t get the credit it deserves. We’re often looked down upon by our rich neighbours down south, and their fans. Scottish football is packed full of stories and natural narratives that often don’t get much attention. A lot of this is down to ourselves too mind you, we can’t just be blaming everyone else for failing to talk up our own game. I’m hoping to use FM18 as a platform to really highlight all of the good about Scottish football, and enlighten you on a few things along the way too.
Today’s post is something that you shouldn’t really need to be enlightened on. Kieran Tierney is the current big hope of Scottish football. This is a player guide, but with a difference. There won’t be any simming 5/10 years plus here. I’ve gone Celtic and I’m going to try and get the best out of KT myself.
I’m being serious when I say that KT is the player that excites me most in world football right now. You can @ me all you want, but genuinely. Watching him play is an absolute joy. He’s a boyhood Celtic fan that treats and plays the game in the right way. Full of passion and a professional on and off the pitch, it’s often brought up that he only wears black boots, as a tiny example of this. The perfect antidote to the way modern football seems to have gone over the last few years. In my opinion he’s the best British left back right now, and he’s just signed a new 6-year deal at Celtic in the non-FM world. In terms of FM though, here’s how he looks when firing up a save on the FM18 beta.He’s apparently most suited to a full back role, but looks to be comfortable anywhere across the back four. At times, he’s played in a central role at the back for Celtic, plus appearing both centrally and on the right hand side of the defence for Scotland too. Many Scottish football analysts and pundits have mentioned his future may well lie as a centre back, as opposed to a left back.
Valued at £10.75m, if you’re playing as one of the bigger clubs in England, then I’d recommend you snap him up right away and slot him in as your left back for the next 10 years. What a bargain it’d be. If you’re playing as Celtic, then you’ve got to do everything you can to hold on to this homegrown hero who many are tipping to captain the club one day.
He has a driven personality, one of the more positive types, which is really good to see. I’m a big fan of driven personalities personally while Tierney’s 19 attribute for determination is only going to be a positive thing too on the pitch. His player traits are very positive for a marauding left back, and very accurate too.
How I’ve set up
I want to try and get the best out of KT. I had initially thought and tried out a complete wing back on attack, but after playing a good few matches with that role, I changed and settled on a simple wing back on attack. It’s much less gung-ho in playing style, as it doesn’t have roam from position as one of it’s set player instructions.
KT is obviously the first choice for the left back spot, and as such, as I’ve made a couple of changes to the player instructions. Alongside shooting less often (which is something I set on most of my players) I’ve gone for asking him to stay wider. Coupled with asking the inside forward ahead of him to sit narrower, KT will hopefully be bombing forward and staying wide, giving us a great outlet for our forward play.
One of KT’s most talked about attributes is his tackling. The initial reaction to his 14 tackling attribute on FM18 would probably be that’s quite low. But couple that with his 18 bravery, and it’s actually probably accurate. KT loves flying into tackles, his reported tackle success rate is said to be just less than 60%, so is it his bravery that just stands out more when watching him play?
I’m writing this 11 competitive matches into things with Celtic, KT has played 10 of those matches and has so far won 79% of his attempted tackles. In a ruthless 3-0 win away at Firhill against Partick Thistle, he won 8 of his 10 attempted tackles including the screenshot where he somehow stops Kris Doolan scoring into an empty net after a rebound off the post.
I love an interception. To have the anticipation, positional sense and decision making on when to try and nick in infront of an opponent is now widely regarded by many in the game as being much more positive than winning a tackle. KT has an average of 13 for those three attributes I mentioned, ones that I see as integral to intercepting on FM. While he might not be leading the way on interceptions, that honour goes to Erik Sviatchenko playing in CB with 4.55 per 90mins, KT has made 25 interceptions so far in his 10 matches, a figure of 2.67 per 90mins.
In a crucial Champions League playoff second leg, KT had an absolute field day going forward, which we’ll go into in a second, but he was vital at the back too.
Since Brendan Rodgers took over at Celtic, KT has gone from strength to strength. He ranks highly amongst the team for chances created and also for dribbles too. In my save so far, as I mentioned, I’ve really tried to put an emphasis on setting up to enable him to get up and support the attack. In that Hapoel Champions League playoff, he did that to devastating effect. Two crosses, two chances created, two goals for Moussa Dembele (on the way to him scoring 5 in total and getting a 10 average rating).
KT picks up a loose ball. The ball finds it’s way to Ntcham (21) in the centre who sprays a long ball out wide to Paddy Roberts (7). By the time Roberts moves inside onto his natural left foot and finds Ajer again, Hapoel are at sixes and sevens and there’s so much space out wide for KT on the left.
KT has six assists from the 12 matches I’ve played him in. A not bad return at all from someone still so young when you fire up your FM18 save. As you develop him further, his attributes are only going to up and up. I’d have loved to have played more of this save to see how well he’d develop under my management, but I’ve got other full save plans in mind.
Creating the space for KT to be a constant outlet going forward is a big part of how I’ve set up. Of course, this is intentional for this article, but it’s also how I’d set the side up if I wasn’t writing this. He’s got the footballing world at his feet. He’s already captained Celtic a couple of times, plus being given the Scotland armband in the recent friendly against the Netherlands. We don’t always get much in the way of headlines when it comes to football, but if Celtic and Kieran Tierney continue performing the way they are currently then Scotland stands in good stead to become relevant on the global stage once again. He’s that good. If you sign him for someone else or manage him at Celtic, let me know how it goes!