Celtic's Greg Taylor says he's never claimed to be Kieran Tierney - "I'm me and that's all I can be"

Full-back feels he has handled pressure well at Scottish champions
Greg Taylor (right) celebrate with Ryan Christie, with the pair top for Celtic assists this season. (Pic: Rob Casey/SNS group)Greg Taylor (right) celebrate with Ryan Christie, with the pair top for Celtic assists this season. (Pic: Rob Casey/SNS group)
Greg Taylor (right) celebrate with Ryan Christie, with the pair top for Celtic assists this season. (Pic: Rob Casey/SNS group)

The grumblings from Celtic supporters over their team’s uneven performances this season have meant few singing the praises of Greg Taylor. As the club’s former attacker Kris Commons laid on the line this week, the issue for the 22-year-old left-back hasn’t been his displays that - in the main - have been decent. The issue is that Taylor is not this faithful’s erstwhile golden boy Kieran Tierney.

It is now 13 months since Tierney departed for Arsenal in a Scottish record £25m deal. Yet, still the Celtic fans pine for the defender, who wasn’t just one of their own, but a one in a generation gem in the left-sided role. Comparisons between the two Scotland internationals will always see Taylor placed in an unfavourable light. The ebullient Greenock-born performer has no interest in musing whether it is unfair simply to make them.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It’s not for me to say. It’s natural,” said the player, who joined Celtic in a £3m deal from Kilmarnock last September. “Kieran was a top, top player for the club, and still is that at Arsenal. He’s a great lad and I was with him in the last Scotland squad and got on really well with him. But, it’s for other people to make comparisons. It’s not something I do myself. I’ve never claimed to be Kieran Tierney, I’m Greg Taylor and that’s all I can be each week. Hopefully that’s enough to continue to play each week for the gaffer. There’s big expectations on every player at the club and I’m no different. It’s just one of those things. I’m fine with it.”

Taylor might be entitled to feel vulnerable over the fact that his club have been in the market for a player capable of deployment on the left as either full-back or wing-back - the berths which he has tended to fill this season. He is not taking that pursuit personally, though.

“It’s not a problem for me,” Taylor said. “That is the life of a player at a big club. There’s going to be competition everywhere. Boli [Bolingoli] has gone on loan, so there’s a vacancy there. It’s understandable the manager’s looking to bring someone else in. It’s competition and that drives every player on. It’s something that we love having in the squad.

“I feel I can deal with the pressures. It’s something I’ve become accustomed to. The pressures and demands through the support, the squad, the club. It’s all natural and I feel I can handle it. I also feel I’ve handled it well since I signed for Celtic. It’s something I feel I need to continue to do. It’s a pressure that I love.”

In a steady fashion, Taylor has risen to the challenge and opportunity presented to him. He is in line to make his ninth appearance of the season in Thursday’s Europa League third qualifying round tie away to FC Riga. The encounter will mark the club’s 10th game of a stop-start season. In his outings, he has contributed four assists - a total only bettered at the club by Ryan Christie, who has five.

“It’s about giving my all and trying to help deliver clean sheets and assists,” he said. “I take pride in what I can bring to the attack. Assists are something I want to continue to rack up. When you’re playing at full-back at Celtic you’re on the front too a lot.

“And it’s been even more so when we’ve been playing a system of wing backs. Four assists this season, with three in the league, is not a bad start. But it’s certainly something to build on and hopefully I can rack up a few more.”

More than a few players will be on the rack - beyond the usual suspects of which Taylor has become one - if Celtic mess up against Riga as they did in their last continental contest that led to them being turfed out of the Champions League qualifiers by Ferencvaros at home four weeks ago.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Of course, we don’t want that again. It’s a must that we get [group stage] European football,” Taylor said. “We didn’t progress in the Champions League and it was disappointing on that evening. It still hurts us. But we can only control what’s in front of us and that’s Thursday night – hopefully we’ll progress in the Europa League. It’s a must and every player knows that. The gaffer stresses that, the coaching team and the whole club. It’s a minimum expectation to have European football at this club.”

A message from the Editor:Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.Subscribe to scotsman.com and enjoy unlimited access to Scottish news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.scotsman.com/subscriptions now to sign up.Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.Joy YatesEditorial Director



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.