Tierney was given his Celtic debut by boss Deila as a 17-year-old and his rise in the game has continued with a recent call-up to the Scotland national team ahead of Rangers skipper Lee Wallace.
Despite his young age, the now 18-year-old is displaying maturity beyond his years and Deila firmly believes he has all the attributes to reach the top from his Scottish base.
“Of course he can. Lionel Messi can come from Scotland, but there is maybe going to be one in a hundred years,” the Norwegian boss explained to the Scotland Herald.
“Kenny Dalglish had a big, big career before. It’s true that was 30 years ago but Zlatan (Ibrahimovic) is coming from Sweden. So it’s possible.”
“Kieran can go all the way. He can play at the highest level if he continues to develop. He needs to improve all the time and to do that he has to play.”
Tierney’s impressive performances have already begun attracting interest from south of the border, with the Scottish Sun reporting that Southampton are monitoring his progress.
The Saints will know all about the player from their previous scouting of Dutch centre-back Virgil van Dijk, and the south coast club know what it’s like to have top clubs interested in their prized jewels.
Tierney has made 16 Scottish Premiership appearances for Celtic this season, as well as four Europa League starts.