Not many have spoken about the future of Celtic wing-back Greg Taylor, with much of the fanfare over the last 24 hours coming from the arrival of left-back rival Diego Laxalt.
Indeed, Laxalt has signed a season-long loan agreement at Parkhead from AC Milan after Celtic had been desperately in need of competition for Taylor.
Laxalt’s pedigree in Serie A combined with his experience with the Uruguay national team makes him the outstanding candidate to take the left wing-back berth.
However, the former Kilmarnock defender simply must focus on the positives and strive for improvement as the season progresses.
It’s easy to look at this from Taylor’s perspective and become deflated. After being criticised on social media in recent weeks, seeing the fans buzzing about a direct rival for your spot can’t be nice. But cowering into your shell should be the last thing you do if you’re in that position.
Taylor’s mentality is being tested here just as much as his footballing ability. Yes, Laxalt will likely take his spot. Whether that be immediately or not remains to be seen. But that doesn’t mean his place in the team will be gone for good.
The left-back spot will always be up for grabs
Look at how many players at Celtic have watched on as bigger-name arrivals threaten to take their place, only for it to help raise their own game and win it back.
Two of them came under Brendan Rodgers in recent years. Dorus de Vries arrived to take the struggling Craig Gordon’s gloves whilst the exciting Patrick Roberts looked certain to take James Forrest’s spot in 2018.
Come six months later on either occasion, Gordon and Forrest were back in regularly whilst their rivals watched on from the bench.
Leigh Griffiths has also found himself in a similar position on a host of occasions. He’s managed to keep making an impression despite competing against the likes of John Guidetti, Stefan Scepovic, Moussa Dembele, and Odsonne Edouard just to name a few. The former two were big signings under Ronny Deila at the time, regardless of the fact they ended up flopping.
Taylor can’t look at Laxalt and be overawed. Instead, he should be inspired. He has a real quality rival that he can learn from and ensure that, when given a chance by Lennon, he makes the most of it and continues to show his improvement.
This hardly signals the end for Taylor. He reportedly cost the Hoops £3million from Kilmarnock (Evening Times) – we’ll want to protect that investment. But it does represent his first major challenge at the club.
Now, we’re about to find out if he makes the most of it.