Why Celtic and Rangers should be competing for Scotland and Kilmarnock left-back

Greg Taylor was very impressive for Kilmarnock helping the side finish third. Picture: SNS
Greg Taylor was very impressive for Kilmarnock helping the side finish third. Picture: SNS
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Left-back is a position which could require strengthening at both Celtic and Rangers this summer.

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The player's performances were rewarded with a Scotland call up. Picture: SNS

The player's performances were rewarded with a Scotland call up. Picture: SNS

Neil Lennon has seen Emilio Izaguirre depart leaving Kieran Tierney as the club's sole out-and-out left-back, and the 22-year-old has, of course, been linked with a more to Europe's elite and Brendan Rodgers' middling Leicester City.

Over in Govan Lee Wallace has exited the club, Andy Halliday is a solid enough option as a squad player, while there have been question marks over Borna Barisic's durability in Scottish football.

Reports in the Daily Record today claim Hull City are keen on Kilmarnock left-back Greg Taylor with interest from the Old Firm.

Celtic and Rangers chasing the 21-year-old makes sense. He has just finished his most impressive season to date, helping Kilmarnock to a third-place finish.

New Scotland boss Steve Clarke has had a pivotal influence on his career with his straight-forward approach to coaching while at Killie, making it simple and clear for players to follow. It has got the best out of Taylor, Stephen O'Donnell, Eamonn Brophy and a host of other players.

In turn, Taylor was handed his first call-up to the national team and first cap against the might of Belgium.

Paris Saint-Germain's Thomas Meunier and Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne lined up on or from the right for the Belgians and Taylor put in a solid performance, certainly not looking out of place.

Aside from the second goal where he got dragged too deep and ended up playing Romelu Lukaku onside he should be content with his international debut.

Taylor is the type of talent the Old Firm should be snapping up ahead of some average, provincial English Championship side.

Celtic have been doing so for a while now, the likes of Ryan Christie, Stuart Armstrong, Gary Mackay-Steven, Lewis Morgan and possibly David Turnbull all joining.

With the signing of Jake Hastie, it suggests Rangers are planning to follow suit.

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In Taylor there is a player who has shown improvement season-on-season since being introduced to the team by Lee Clark on the last day of the 2015/2016 season. He would go on to play and excel in Killie's 4-0 win over Falkirk in the second leg of the Premiership play-off.

He truly announced himself at the start of the following campaign when he sent Joey Barton into the Ayrshire night sky with a ridiculous challenge.

It is a moment which will likely be remembered by most throughout his career. Yet, his talent is beginning to take much greater prominence.

He has channelled that aggression. From picking up nine yellow cards and a red that season, it was a measly four during the last campaign. Impressive for a player who is so combative - he was eighth for defensive duels in 2018/2019.

Taylor's game intelligence has grown has he reads play so well, getting into correct positions and using his body wisely. The player has clearly been coached and taken on advice.

Under Clarke his role from left-back was a supporting one, allowing the winger - namely Jordan Jones - space to operate in the final third.

It is an aspect of his game which would likely have to change at Celtic or Rangers where the full-backs are required to be more progressive. Taylor hit 54 crosses from the left flank during the last campaign. Tierney hit 109 and Barisic 119.

The talent, ability and stamina is there to do that. In his first season it was notable the quality of his crossing, helped by having played left midfield before.

Hull City reportedly value the player at £400,000. Such a price is a snip for a player who is capable of delivering weekly now but also one with a lot of potential.

Killie will likely see the player's valuation higher but not to the point where it should put either Celtic or Rangers off.

Recruiting Taylor would be smart business.

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