Greg Taylor has stated that his rare Celtic opportunity under John Kennedy on Saturday was “important” as he addressed his Celtic competition in Diego Laxalt.
Taylor had yet to feature under Kennedy before Saturday’s 6-0 romp vs Livingston. He had been left out of the squad for games against Aberdeen and Dundee United. He did manage to break his way back onto the bench for recent contests against Rangers and Falkirk however.
He’s often played second-fiddle to Diego Laxalt this season, but that wasn’t the case on Saturday. It was the Uruguayan who had to make do with a place on the bench for Livi’s visit, and Taylor shone. Teaming up well with Moi Elyounoussi, the former Kilmarnock man managed to take his first opportunity under the interim boss.
And ahead of a crucial clash against Rangers next weekend in the Scottish Cup, Taylor talked up the importance of the outing.
As quoted by Glasgow Times, Greg said: “It was important for me to get some minutes and 90 under my belt ahead of the game on Saturday.
“It’s competition for places and you need to have that a club such as Celtic. You just hope that you have done enough to get the nod when it comes around.
“It’ll be down to the manager. He’ll make a decision on what he feels is right for that game and different games can sometimes call for different players, so it’s whatever he sees fit. It’s a big game, a massive game. Every game is big at Celtic, but it’s a cup tie and is in the one competition we have left to play for before until the end of the season.”
Greg Taylor has a part to play at Celtic, but Laxalt has proven to be a step up
Taylor has never let Celtic down. Signed by Neil Lennon back in the summer of 2019, the Scotland international deserves every medal that comes his way at Parkhead.
The fact he has 27 appearances to his name this season shows his importance to the squad [Transfermarkt]. Even if he isn’t the first-choice, Taylor is the kind of player you need to have for rotation purposes, as he showed on Saturday.
But there’s a reason he had previously been frozen out in Kennedy’s first four games in charge. He simply isn’t the number one left-back choice at the club just now. That belongs to Laxalt, who continues to impress with his aggressiveness and direct running down the left flank.
Taylor does, of course, have the security of being at Celtic for the long-term. Laxalt, of course, is due to head back to AC Milan when his loan deal expires in the summer. Therefore, it could easily be the case that Kennedy gives Taylor the final few games that remains this season.
But it feels unlikely. Kennedy was more likely just giving Laxalt a rest ahead of this weekend’s Glasgow Derby. He’s proven himself to be a step-up from anything we currently have on the books at left-back. Even if consistency has been missing at times from the Milan-owned defender, you can see the difference in class when he plays compared to Greg.
Taylor, of course, is a fine left-back in his own right. He showed tremendous application and focus to produce such an energetic performance on Saturday after a period out. But should he be starting at Ibrox? The truth is we have a better option available.