Celtic star Greg Taylor ineligible to face Rangers - who could come in?

By David Walton

December 5, 2019

Celtic may have a slight problem ahead of the Betfred Cup final against Rangers, with nobody looking like a favourite to start at left-back.

Greg Taylor has featured for the Hoops in four of our last five matches at left-back. However, despite his recent run in the side, that will be halted on Sunday.

Taylor is unfortunately ineligible to face Rangers after featuring for Kilmarnock in the competition back in August. The defender played 120 minutes against Hamilton Accies to help Angelo Alessio’s side qualify for the quarter-finals of the competition.

Greg Taylor (centre) will miss the Rangers match (Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images)

But with Taylor unavailable, it’s difficult to see who will step right in and replace him.

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Neil Lennon spoke at his press conference pre-Hamilton and confirmed that there was no update on Jonny Hayes (Celtic TV). The former Aberdeen man has been missing for a couple of weeks with a slight knock. Whilst that has opened the door for Taylor, it isn’t ideal for our cup final situation.

Boli and Hayes have had injury problems

Boli Bolingoli may have returned to training, but the Belgian hasn’t played for the club since the 2-1 home win against Lazio back in October. That’s nearly a month-and-a-half ago. The last thing we need is someone being rushed back into a fixture such as this who isn’t fully-fit.

Boli has missed plenty of action in recent weeks (Michael Campanella/Getty Images)

With a bit of luck, Lennon is just trying to play it cool here. It may be the case, for example, that the likes of Hayes was always going to be fit for the cup final and is simply being rested. Lennon did the exact same before in the semi-final with Scott Brown, so it wouldn’t be totally unlike him (Celtic TV).

Yet there’s no denying it’s not an ideal scenario for us in the position. You could debate whether Taylor would’ve started even if he was eligible. However, the fact is at the very least we would’ve had a reliable left-back available who had been playing regularly in recent weeks.

Will Jonny Hayes be ready for a return to action? (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Celtic also have the option of pulling Moritz Bauer over to the left. He has a history of playing in the position in the past with Rubin Kazan. It wouldn’t be ideal, but it’s still one potential avenue for us to go down.

It’ll be interesting to see what Neil goes for on Sunday. With a bit of luck, this isn’t as much of an issue as it looks like at face value.