Greg Taylor’s Scotland career looks tougher than many others in the international set-up, but he could be set for a big opportunity.
Taylor has the unenviable task of trying to displace the likes of Andrew Robertson and Kieran Tierney. The Liverpool and Arsenal stars are two of Scotland’s poster boys when it comes to our most talented players.
Behind the pair, Taylor has been sitting waiting on an opportunity in the Scotland first-team. So far, he’s managed to make just one appearance for his country. But he’s also managed to make the last three Scotland squads too.
And his persistence could be about to be rewarded. That’s because Robertson has decided to pull out of the squad to face Cyprus and Kazakhstan over the next week (BBC). His decision follows Kieran Tierney’s own omission (BBC).
It’s a blow for Steve Clarke undoubtedly, but for Taylor it could be golden. As things stand, he’s now the only natural left-back still available in the squad.
Clarke has moved to call-up Graeme Shinnie too. However, the former Aberdeen man has regularly been utilised by Derby County as a midfielder, despite his own ability to cover at left-back.
Taylor shouldn’t play second-fiddle to Graeme Shinnie
Shinnie also started at left-back against Kazakhstan for Scotland’s shock 3-0 defeat away from home back on matchday one of the Euro qualifiers. Taylor, meanwhile, doesn’t have such a horrific performance to his name.
It seems odd to be pushing him for Scotland. After all, Taylor himself has only played once all season for Celtic. So far, he’s been behind both Boli Bolingoli and Jonny Hayes in the pecking order respectively. But that doesn’t mean he can’t step up and do a job for Clarke’s side.
Taylor’s only international cap came in the 3-0 defeat to Belgium away from home. That performance back in June was a poor all-round performance, but Taylor impressed individually.
You would strongly fancy the former Kilmarnock defender to show up well vs Cyprus and Kazakhstan. It remains to be seen, of course, as to whether Clarke looks unfavourably towards his lack of game-time at club level.
But if that was the case, you would have to question why he’s been included in the squad in the first place. He’s there because Clarke knows him well and believes he can do a job. And with KT and Robertson out, there shouldn’t be a single rival ahead of him this week.
And from a Celtic perspective, this could be worthwhile for us too. It would help him build up some match-sharpness ahead of a crucial period of the season. So here’s hoping Clarke stands by him when it comes to his team-selections.