Greg Taylor’s international opportunities have certainly been boosted by his move to Parkhead, but the next month will be vital if he’s to stay in Steve Clarke’s plans.
In the last double-header against Cyprus and Kazakhstan, Taylor was given two 90-minute appearances. Better yet, the former Kilmarnock full-back managed an assist in both games too.
Those games added to his solitary cap picked up against Belgium back in June. But a recent development threatens to push him out of the picture for March’s vital Euro 2020 playoff matches.
Arsenal and former Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney is back in training after suffering a dislocated shoulder against West Ham in early December (Evening Standard). When fit, he’s bound to be rivaling Andrew Robertson to be Scotland’s number one left-back.
With Tierney back training a whole 44 days before Scotland’s crucial game against Israel, he certainly has plenty of time to get himself up to speed and bag himself a spot in Clarke’s squad. That would only come at the expense of one man – Taylor.
Clarke knows he can rely on Taylor
Tierney, of course, hasn’t played for Clarke since his appointment. The former Kilmarnock manager took charge back in May 2019, with Tierney’s last appearance for Scotland coming in a 2-1 defeat in Israel back in October 2018.
We all know Tierney is a better left-back than Taylor, but it’s all about momentum at this point. If Taylor can build up a body of successful appearances between now and the international break, Clarke will surely look favourably upon it.
And remember, during that last double-header that Taylor was involved in, the Scotland manager said that those games could provide a springboard for further participation (Press and Journal). Taylor certainly impressed.
Clarke is also fully aware of what he’ll get from Taylor. Therefore, if he is producing positive performances on a game-by-game basis under Clarke’s nose, it would take a brave man to bet against him being number two to Robertson for the playoffs.
All it takes is for the Liverpool star to get a knock and then all of a sudden Taylor could be starting his country’s most important game in a long time too.
However, to do all of that he has to stay in the Celtic side. Neil Lennon has started him in each of our last three league matches, so it’s fair to say he’s forced his way in at the perfect time. Yet with Tierney looking to breathe down his neck, his consistency needs to continue.