'A stroll with the missus': Celtic's Greg Taylor recalls his Buckingham Palace text message joy

Being called up for Euro 2020 was a dream for left-back and he hopes for same this summer with Scotland

Celtic left-back Greg Taylor was strolling past Buckingham Palace when he was called up for his country’s Euro 2020 squad. The 26-year-old will never forget the feeling of relief and joy when he made the cut and a similar summons for Scotland’s latest European Championship pool would mean everything to him.

Taylor was this week included in a 25-man squad for upcoming friendlies against the Netherlands and Northern Ireland. Head coach Steve Clarke will have to cut those numbers by two for the Euro 2024 squad in Germany and will hope to have the likes of Callum McGregor, Aaron Hickey and Jacob Brown back fit and available before he makes his choice. Taylor has had to compete with two of Scotland’s best players, captain Andy Robertson and Kieran Tierney, who is pivotal to the way Clarke’s side play. So he cherishes every moment he gets on and off the pitch with the international squad.

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That feeling was intensified when he received the good news in 2021 from then Scottish Football Association player liaison officer Frank Reilly in a text which he still has in his phone to this day. When asked about the prospect of going to the Euros again, Taylor said: “It would mean everything, of course. I was lucky enough to go to the last Euros. I didn’t play but I was there and it was a massive honour. When you get that text through and you realise you are going, it was really special.

Celtic's Greg Taylor has eyes on being involved in the Scotland squad.Celtic's Greg Taylor has eyes on being involved in the Scotland squad.
Celtic's Greg Taylor has eyes on being involved in the Scotland squad.

“It was from Frank Reilly, who is no longer involved with Scotland. I was in London, and I knew it was about the time. I was just outside Buckingham Palace, on a stroll with the missus, and I got the text through. It was probably relief more than anything because you are so keen to be there and when that comes through it was pure joy. It’s something you want to have again but understand it’s not fully in your own control.”

Taylor is well aware that the competition for places in his position means there are no guarantees ahead of any squad selection. I have understood that probably since I came through from the 21s that the opportunities for me in my position were going to be limited,” the former Kilmarnock player said. “I have 13 caps already and every one I have loved. I never take it for granted because it has been difficult.

“When I get the opportunity I try and do my best for my country and we will see where that takes us come the summer. All I can do is try and play well every game I am selected for my club and if that’s enough to be on the plane in the Scotland manager’s eyes then brilliant. If not, then it’s somebody else’s opinion.”

Clarke declared this week that the players who had got Scotland to the Euros deserved to be on the plane and Taylor feels that loyalty from the head coach has been a key factor in their success. “That has definitely helped with the Scotland team in general, not just me personally,” he said. “Having that nucleus of players and everyone is going in the one direction, fighting for each other. It doesn’t matter who plays in each game, everyone wants success for the nation. The manager has done really well at that and on a personal level we have a great relationship. Obviously I had him at Kilmarnock and he has done a lot for my career and improved me a lot as a player, so I am very grateful for that.”