Kieran Tierney admits it was a “hard” decision for him to swap Celtic for Arsenal, but the 22-year-old hopes those in Glasgow understand why he left and that no doors will be closed to a future return.
A boyhood Hoops fan made the tough call to leave Parkhead during the summer transfer window.
A protracted saga eventually saw him complete a £25 million ($31m) switch to Emirates Stadium, with a Premier League plunge taken after several years of speculation.
Tierney has, after overcoming an early injury, made a positive impression in north London and is expected to become a key man for the Gunners.
He is delighted to be proving his worth outside of a Celtic comfort zone, with it never easy to sever ties with a club that did so much for your development and put you on the path to stardom.
Tierney told the Daily Record: “It has been hard, people probably think ‘he just moved for this reason or that reason’ but they don’t realise it was a big thing for me.
“I don’t have to explain my love for Celtic, everyone knows it’s my club and the club I’ve supported all my life. But this was a chance to move to a massive club in England.
“Everyone told me it was a great move, it’s a chance to come here and play against some of the best players in the world.
“And every day I am training with some of the best players in the world too. It was an opportunity to better myself.
“Sometimes you have to look at your career as well as what your heart is telling you to do and it was the toughest decision of my life.
“It kept me up at nights thinking about it. People who are around me know how hard it was.”
Tierney appreciates that many of those who once idolised him may never find it in their hearts to forgive him, with the highly-rated left-back adding: “I don’t know if it will pass, some people probably won’t ever forgive me.
“Everyone has their choice, some people will support me and others won’t. I gave Celtic 15 years, I put my body through a lot playing through injuries and gave everything.
“I am not saying ‘I’m brilliant’ or anything but I gave everything I could every single day.
“Hopefully they will continue to support me but if not I just have to deal with that.
“I just want to say ‘thanks’ to everyone who supported me at Celtic. I couldn’t have got the move to Arsenal without the support and love that they gave me.”
It could be that Tierney’s career path eventually leads him full circle, with a return to his roots made at some stage, but he admits to being in no position to speculate on such a move at present.
Quizzed on whether he could represent the Bhoys again before hanging up his boots, the Scotland international said: “Could I end up back at Celtic one day?
“I have signed a long-term deal here at Arsenal and you can’t think that far ahead. You never know but that’s thinking a long way ahead.”