The Kieran Tierney return we’ve all been waiting for may have a no-later date set.

According to the Daily Mail, Celtic have his return pencilled in, at the latest, for Motherwell at Celtic Park on February 24th. The game against Steve Robinson’s men looks one of the simpler matches on the fixture list.

Tierney was yesterday ruled out of facing Valencia in the Europa League tonight. Brendan Rodgers confirmed he had been training, but that the game had come too soon.

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We spoke earlier this morning about how this is actually good news for Celtic. Rodgers may have been tempted to just throw him in without any matches over the last two months.

Kieran Tierney hasn’t played since the Salzburg defeat (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

With Emilio Izaguirre fit to participate tonight, and he’s likely to start, that would be the best course of action. The Honduran has been Celtic’s number one left-back since Tierney’s injury. He has featured in five of the last six matches.

But, the sooner KT gets back to full fitness, the better. Celtic fans absolutely adore him, and he would run through brick walls for the club.

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Tough encounters before Motherwell clash

Before the scheduled Motherwell clash, however Celtic also have huge matches to negotiate against the likes of Kilmarnock and Valencia away from home.

Given the fact Rugby Park’s artificial surface has seen several players pick up injuries in the past, Rodgers could be tempted to leave Tierney out of that one.

Tierney should steer well clear of the Rugby Park surface (Steve Welsh/Getty Images)

And with Valencia away from home undoubtedly going to be a high-tempo clash, it’s doubtful Tierney would be up to speed to make much of an influence in that clash either.

A Premiership match at home to Motherwell seems like the perfect time to integrate him back in. After all, Celtic should boss the game and, touch wood, have far fewer problems posed towards them than the likes of Killie and Valencia will bring.

Rodgers did refuse to rule out Tierney playing in that second-leg next week. But he would be opening himself up to real scrutiny if the Scotland international struggled.

Tierney has been battling an ongoing hip problem and therefore needs to be managed accordingly. But it seems as though Motherwell in 10 days is the pencilled in date for his return at the latest.

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