Kieran Tierney was a pained spectator as Scotland opened their Euro 2020 campaign. He will do everything to avoid it happening again.
Tierney remained back at Scotland’s Rockliffe base on Monday, rehabbing a calf problem, as his team-mates took to the pitch at Hampden Park.
His absence from the starting line-up prompted concern and worry aplenty, given his importance to Scotland and manager Steve Clarke.
That his manager still has doubts over his availability to face England will not inspire confidence, with Tierney himself hoping his odds are greater than 50/50.
“It probably is, aye (50/50). It’s just so unlucky because I worked so hard to get back from my knee injury,” he said. “I came back quickly for that, played a few games. I don’t know if those few games caught up with me and I just got a wee niggle. That’s all it is, just a niggle. It’s touch and go.
“The pain itself probably wouldn’t stop you playing. It’s if you played on it, it could get a lot, lot worse and you could get out for a lengthy time. You can’t risk it, not with calfs.
“I was gutted. I was so down. I stayed back and did rehab work as well. I was just so flat that day. I stayed back here trying to get fit for Friday and it was probably the longest day. It was a horrible day.
“Watching the anthem was amazing but what I was feeling inside was terrible. I wanted to be there so much. I wanted to help the boys out, wanted them to do so well and not being able to help was hard to take.
“I probably felt 10 times worse than everyone, honestly. But that’s what you need to deal with in football. You get ups and downs. This was a down.
“I need to count myself lucky, there is a lot worse things going on and a lot worse things that can happen. I’m just doing my best to be fir for Friday night.”
Should Tierney make it, he will be part of one of football’s oldest rivalries at a ground where he has recent happy memories.
The 24-year-old was victorious at Wembley with Arsenal twice last year, winning the FA Cup and Community Shield. In both games the Gunners were underdogs – against Chelsea and Liverpool respectively – and it is a rule likely to suit the Scots on Friday night.
“It probably does,” added Tierney. “We’re going to go down there and fight for everything. It’s a derby, it’s a big rivalry in football. We’re looking forward to it. There is no doubt about it, we’re really looking forward to this game.
“I’ve played there a couple of times, fortunately for Arsenal there have been some good results we’ve had there. If I can keep that going I’ll be delighted.
“All the families will be looking forward to it, it’s a massive occasion for every player to be hopefully in the squad for a Euros game because I missed out on the first one. My family were just as gutted as me. Hopefully it will be a good weekend for us.”
Sitting and watching the game as a spectator is something Tierney dare not have to contemplate again, particularly given the magnitude of these 90 minutes in the English capital.
“It will probably be worse because the idea of missing that game was to be ready for Friday. But football doesn’t always work like that,” he said.
“It is not always ideal, you have setbacks and I’ve had plenty of them. It’s just about how you react and bounce back. I’m bouncing back from a big disappointment as well so we’ll see how I feel.”