Stones came under fire once more for a mistake in Manchester City's 4-2 defeat to Leicester on Saturday.
Despite the rise of technically proficient defenders with the ability to start attacks from deep and play out admirably under pressure, there remains a rose-tinted nostalgia applied in some quarters concerning the ‘old school’ centre-halves sporting black boots and black eyes.
The near relentless criticism volleyed at Manchester City and England defender John Stones, albeit not without justification after his under-hit back-pass gifted Jamie Vardy a goal on Saturday, has come to epitomise the lack of patience from some supporters towards defenders who are more content with attempting to distribute possession rather than knocking the teeth out of an innocent spectator in row Z.
And Kiernan, who has often been singled out by the boo-boys for his displays in a defence that has conceded just six clean sheets all season, says many supporters simply do not understand the changing role of the centre-back.
“Times are changing and you don’t get away with those heavy challenges any more. I’ve seen things from back in the day when boys go through the back of people and don’t even get a yellow card,” Kiernan told the Daily Record.
“You’d get sent off for that now, you’d miss three games and the team would be weaker.
“It frustrates me so much that Stones gets so much grief. The majority of punters can’t see what he’s actually doing. He has unbelievable talent but people just love to pick out a fault instead of looking at the stuff he actually does.
“I’m not going to argue with punters but I think their opinions aren’t valid at times.”
Kiernan’s comments are unlikely to go down well with many observers but, as England manager Gareth Southgate pointed out recently, how will the home nations produce talented, ball-playing defenders of Rio Ferdinand’s ilk if they are slaughtered publically for each and every misplaced pass?