Robert Samuel "Rob" Kiernan (born 13 January 1991) is a professional footballer who plays as a defender for Scottish Premiership club Rangers.
Kiernan has previously played for Watford and Wigan Athletic and has also spent time on loan at Kilmarnock, Yeovil Town, Bradford City, Wycombe Wanderers, Accrington Stanley, Burton Albion, Brentford, Southend United and Birmingham City. Kiernan, who was born in Hertfordshire, played for the Republic of Ireland at youth levels up to and including under-21.
Kiernan was born in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire.
Kiernan began his football career as a youngster with Watford. Watford sent two youth squads to the Milk Cup in Northern Ireland in the summer of 2008. Kiernan was moved from his natural position of central midfielder to play centre-half, to take advantage of his height and physical presence, and also captained the side. His performances drew praise from his coach Mark Warburton.
Kiernan captained Watford's under-18 side in 2008–09, in which they reached the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup. In October 2008, he, together with fellow second-year scholars Billy Gibson and Ross Jenkins, signed "developmental contracts" – professional contracts signed earlier than usual, allowing the players to continue their scholarships without the pressure of worrying about the future –to run until the end of the 2009–10 season.
When Brendan Rodgers was appointed Watford manager in November 2008, Kiernan began to take part in some first-team training sessions. He was included in the senior matchday squad for the first time on 24 January 2009 for an FA Cup fourth-round tie against Crystal Palace at Vicarage Road, and made his debut as a 90th-minute substitute, replacing Gavin Hoyte, as Watford won 4–3. Although he made no more first-team appearances that season, he finished with 17 starts for the Academy side and nine for the reserves.
After a trial in January 2010, Kiernan joined Scottish Premier League side Kilmarnock on loan; manager Jimmy Calderwood wanted him as cover with two defensive players injured. He joined Kilmarnock on the same day as Watford teammate Scott Severin, and was given the number 29 shirt. Kiernan made his debut the next day as a 73rd-minute substitute in a 1–0 league win against Celtic.
Kiernan played three matches for Yeovil Town at the start of the 2010–11 season, and on 12 November joined Bradford City on a two-month loan.
Conference side Histon had previously attempted to sign Kiernan on loan.
At the end of the 2010–11 season, Kiernan rejected Watford's offer of a new two-year contract; the "slightly reduced" terms offered entitled him to leave the club without compensation becoming payable by his next employer. He signed for Premier League club Wigan Athletic, In March 2012, having failed to feature in Wigan's first team, Kiernan joined League Two Accrington Stanley on loan for the remainder of the season, but ankle ligament damage cut the loan spell to just three matches. He returned to match fitness with the help of a month's loan at Burton Albion, also of League Two, in the early part of the following season, and in November moved on to League One Brentford on loan until January 2013. He then renewed his loan deal on 11 January 2013. On 12 October 2013, Kiernan joined League Two side Southend United on a three-month loan deal, however, he was recalled on 29 December, as cover after Thomas Rogne was injured on Boxing Day. Kiernan made a strong end to the 2013–14 season, scoring his first goal for the club against Leicester City and featuring in the play-off semi-final defeat by Queens Park Rangers, and signed a three-year contract extension in May 2014.
However, after struggling to feature the following season, Kiernan joined then Championship club Birmingham City in February 2015 on loan until the end of the 2014–15 season. He made his debut on 21 February at Brighton & Hove Albion, starting the match in central midfield in place of the injured David Davis, and played 78 minutes of the 4–3 defeat. He went on to form a partnership at centre-half with Jonathan Spector, and then played alongside Michael Morrison after the latter's return from injury. Kiernan was credited with his first goal for the club on 11 April against Wolverhampton Wanderers; he scored from close range after Jonathan Grounds' shot had already crossed the line unnoticed by the officials and been pushed back into play. A hamstring injury meant he missed the last two matches of the season.
On 22 June 2015, Kiernan signed a two-year deal at Rangers. Over the course of the subsequent season, he played in central defence alongside Danny Wilson. The pair, however, received criticism for some of their performances, notably in the team's 3–2 loss to Hibernian in the 2016 Scottish Cup Final. In the summer of 2016, it was reported that Rangers had opened negotiations with Kiernan over extending his contract and on 19 July Kiernan extended his contract with Rangers for another year until 2018. Kiernan scored his first goal for Rangers and only the third goal of his professional career on 10 December 2016, heading a James Tavernier free-kick to net the first of two goals as Rangers won 2–0. On 27 December 2016, he was linked with a £2m move to Fulham and the following day, during Rangers 1–1 draw with St Johnstone, Kiernan appeared to strike Saints captain Steven Anderson. For this, Kiernan was offered a two-match suspension for violent conduct by the Scottish Football Association, however he choose to contest the charge of violent conduct and it was ultimately dismissed by disciplinary tribunal on 12 January.
In summer 2008, Kiernan was called up by the Republic of Ireland under-19 team for a four-nation tournament, but he had to withdraw after tearing his right thigh muscle.
He has captained the Republic of Ireland at age-group levels.
- As of 18:25, 2 January 2017 (UTC)
|Club||Season||League||National Cup||League Cup||Other||Total|
|Kilmarnock (loan)||2009–10||Scottish Premier League||4||0||1||0||—||—||5||0|
|Yeovil Town (loan)||2010–11||League One||3||0||—||0||0||—||3||0|
|Bradford City (loan)||2010–11||League Two||8||0||—||—||—||8||0|
|Wycombe Wanderers (loan)||2010–11||League Two||2||0||—||—||—||2||0|
|Wigan Athletic||2011–12||Premier League||0||0||0||0||0||0||—||0||0|
|Accrington Stanley (loan)||2011–12||League Two||3||0||—||—||—||3||0|
|Burton Albion (loan)||2012–13||League Two||6||0||—||—||—||6||0|
|Brentford (loan)||2012–13||League One||8||0||0||0||—||1||0||9||0|
|Southend United (loan)||2013–14||League Two||12||0||2||0||—||—||14||0|
|Birmingham City (loan)||2014–15||Championship||12||1||—||—||—||12||1|
- Scottish Championship: 2015–16
- Scottish Challenge Cup: 2015–16