Greg Taylor has won the Celtic left-back battle with Hearts display

By David Walton

February 12, 2020

The left-back battle has long been a burning debate at Parkhead since the start of the season, but tonight we finally have a winner.

Greg Taylor was given his fifth start since the winter break tonight against Hearts in our 5-0 demolition of the Jambos. The result extended our lead at the top of the Premiership to 10 points too thanks to Rangers’ 2-1 defeat to Kilmarnock.

And Taylor, once again being given the licence to roam as a left wing-back, was on fire once again.

Greg Taylor (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The former Killie man managed to grab two assists thanks to set-ups for both Callum McGregor and Ryan Christie. They weren’t fortunate either. Both came from terrific energy by Taylor to get down the left and get balls into dangerous areas.

Where Taylor is impressing is with his final ball. As well as the two assists he managed, he also had several other close calls that nearly resulted in goals with his teasing deliveries from the left.

Understanding with team-mates is growing

The more he’s starting for Celtic, the more he’s getting used to those around him. It’s no surprise then that his best run of form for the club has been after a run of four consecutive league games.

Meanwhile, his rivals continue to look up at him. Jonny Hayes was on the bench tonight, and despite being a frequent sub this season, he continues to be used as a squad player. There are even bigger question marks over our other left-back.

Boli Bolingoli wasn’t even in the matchday squad after another average display against Clyde on Sunday. Whilst the Belgian clearly has plenty about him, Taylor is starting to look both more efficient and productive.

Greg Taylor celebrates a Celtic goal (Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images)

Boli was our first-choice left-back during the first half of the season. However, with Neil Lennon often utilising the 3-5-2 formation, Taylor seems to be able to do the business at both ends a lot better.

You also can’t ignore Taylor’s quality with his ball-retention either. He very rarely seems to make a mistake in possession, and seems to always find a team-mate with his short passing. He doesn’t give anything away for free.

Tonight against Hearts was a real powerful display from him, and he fully merited his two-assists too. It’s the kind of performance he needed to seriously claim the spot as his own. Right now, both Hayes and Boli are a long way from catching him.

Massive kudos to Taylor. He’s had to bide his time, but now he looks ready to thrive in the spotlight.