Celtic’s Greg Taylor wins plaudits from fellow left-back Andy Robertson

For Greg Taylor, one text message he received on Wednesday night was all the endorsement he could have wished for his assist-fuelled display in Celtic’s 5-0 drubbing of Hearts.
Celtic left-back Greg Taylor during a training session at Lennoxtown. Picture: Craig Foy/SNSCeltic left-back Greg Taylor during a training session at Lennoxtown. Picture: Craig Foy/SNS
Celtic left-back Greg Taylor during a training session at Lennoxtown. Picture: Craig Foy/SNS

As the 22-year-old bids to make the left-back slot at the Scottish champions his own, the commendation for his performance came from a man currently regarded as arguably the finest exponent of the position in world football.

“Andy Robertson texted me just after we beat Hearts to congratulate me,” revealed Taylor. “I have a good relationship with him – he’s a top, top player and a good lad as well.”

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Taylor has been able to observe Liverpool star 
Robertson at close quarters during Scotland get-togethers but also studies him regularly on TV as he looks to emulate his attacking prowess.

It’s an element of Taylor’s game which has been under scrutiny since his £2 million move to Celtic from a Kilmarnock side where more of his time was spent in the defensive third of the pitch.

“Getting another couple of assists against Hearts was helpful for me because people have been questioning my attacking play since I joined Celtic,” said Taylor.

“But what I want to be doing in that wing-back role is create goals while keeping the door shut at the other end.

“I wouldn’t say that this is a new side to the way I play, it’s just that you get more of the ball playing for a club of Celtic’s size – we tend to dominate possession and you’re under the spotlight because you’re on the ball more often.

“I’m well aware that I came here from Kilmarnock, which is a more defensive team, and I knew that I had improvements to make to both the attacking and defensive aspects of 
my game.

“That’s why I stay behind every day to work on, for example, crossing drills. It’s all about repetition, repetition, repetition because you know that you will improve by doing that and, thankfully, there have been a few assists since I came back into the side.

“There are still many improvements to be made but if I continue working hard on the training ground and keep getting games then I’m hoping to keep showing what I can do.

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“Our assistant manager John Kennedy does video analysis with me on my own performances after every game to see what I’ve done well and what could be done differently.

“If there’s a game on TV any given night, then I’ll also watch players who might be direct opponents or, if it’s an 
English match, I’ll concentrate on the individuals who play in my position, although not 
too intensely.

“The two full-backs at 
Liverpool, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy, are obvious ones to look at. The number of goals they create is just 
ridiculous. They’re good examples for me.”

Taylor has already won three Scotland caps when Robertson has been sidelined by injury and is hopeful of joining him in Steve Clarke’s squad for the Euro 2020 play-off semi-final against Israel next month. “It’s important to be playing for your club if you want to be selected by your country but the important thing is to be performing well every week,” he added. “That’s what my focus is on right now and, hopefully, I’ll be involved next month.”

As Celtic moved 10 points clear at the top of the Premiership on Wednesday night, Taylor’s delight wasn’t restricted to his own role in their rout of Hearts. He was also thrilled by former club Killie’s 2-1 win over Rangers for which his 18-year-old brother Ally was an unused substitute as he closes in on his first team breakthrough at Rugby Park.

“I texted my wee 
brother after the game because I knew he was on the bench,” said Taylor. “I just said ‘Well done’ because I was hoping he had got on but he was pleased because it was a good result for Killie in their bid to get into the top six.

“He’s buzzing about being involved with the first team because this is only his second full season. He plays in central midfield and he’s a good player – he just needs to take his chance when it comes.”