Neil Lennon has guaranteed Greg Taylor more game-time as the season progresses after being frozen out due to the signing of Diego Laxalt.
Taylor, who signed for Celtic in the summer of 2019, broke into the Parkhead first-team at the beginning of 2020. However, after a productive first few months, it quickly became clear that a higher quality of player was needed if we were to achieve our goals for the 2020/21 season.
Laxalt, therefore, arrived on loan from AC Milan on a season-long loan deal and immediately took Taylor’s spot over the last month. The Scotland international’s last start for the club came on October 4th against St Johnstone in Perth. Since then, he’s been rooted to the bench and watched on as Laxalt has gained hero status amongst the support.
But even so, Lennon still believes that the Uruguayan’s arrival can be a big plus for Taylor’s development. Speaking in the Scottish Sun, the Celtic boss also confirmed that his back-up left-back will get more minutes as the season goes on.
“Greg Taylor will learn a lot from him and vice-versa, they can bounce off each other. Taylor’s an excellent, outstanding young talent, and we’ve got two very good left-sided players now in that position, they can push each other on.
“Greg will play his part this season as well, there’s no question about that.”
There are clear opportunities there for Taylor
If we’re all being brutally honest and not looking to gloss over the situation, there’s next to no chance that Taylor manages to overtake Laxalt in the bid to be the club’s first-choice left-back. The latter just has too much in his locker that Taylor doesn’t possess.
However, when you flick through Celtic’s fixture list, there are clear opportunities there for Taylor to seize upon and get some more minutes under his belt.
Before 2020 is over, Celtic have home games against the likes of St Johnstone, Kilmarnock, Ross County, and Dundee United respectively. All of those matches look like potential chances for Taylor.
Lennon is going to have to rest Laxalt at some stage, especially with Celtic often playing every four days due to cup competitions and a desire to finish the Europa League group stages as quickly as possible. That means the Celtic boss is going to have to pinpoint what games Laxalt needs to be available for, and they’re obvious ones.
Motherwell away, Hibernian away, Rangers away, Hearts in the Scottish Cup final, and every single Europa League game are all standout fixtures for the new recruit. Taylor’s hope of playing in those ones look optimistic at best.
But he has to make the most of Laxalt’s time in Scotland. Taylor can learn so much about his style of defending as well as his technique in tight areas. The worst thing the Scotland international can do now is to shrink into his shell.
It’s time for him to show he has the character to remain a useful figure at Celtic Park.