Former Hearts man makes unwarranted claim about Celtic full-back
Former Hearts midfielder Ryan Stevenson has claimed that Jambos defender Stephen Kingsley is a better full-back than Celtic’s Greg Taylor.
With domestic business in Scottish Football put on hold for the next few weeks, international fixtures are set to return later this evening, with Steve Clarke’s Tartan Army taking on Ukraine.
Four Celtic stars have been included in the Scotland squad for this month’s international break, with Anthony Ralston, Greg Taylor, Callum McGregor and David Turnbull being selected.
After making a successful start to the season, suffering just one loss in eight domestic games, there didn’t seem to be too much discussion about all four players’ place in the 25-man squad.
In particular, no one could argue about the places of Callum McGregor and Greg Taylor, with the Hoops duo being two of Ange Postecoglou’s most consistent performers this season.
McGregor has earned himself a regular spot within Steve Clarke’s starting 11, whereas Taylor has been more of a squad player under his former Killie boss.
However, going into this month’s international break, Scotland captain Andy Robertson picked up a knee injury which has resulted in the left-back missing the next three fixtures.
This appears to have opened to door to a starting spot for Greg Taylor after continuing his good form towards the back end of last campaign into the new season.
But, it doesn’t seem as though everyone believes that the Celtic full-back deserves his spot in the starting 11 or even the squad.
Writing in a column for the Daily Record, former Hearts man Ryan Stevenson has insisted that Jambos defender Stephen Kingsley is a better full-back than Taylor and should be ahead of him on international duty.
He said [Daily Record]: “For the life of me, I can’t understand why the Hearts defender isn’t preparing to take on Ukraine at Hampden this evening.
Stevenson continued: “I know what people will say here – he’s anti-Hibs, blah, blah – but I would have Stephen Kingsley ahead of Ryan Porteous all day long. Porteous has been a very good player for Hibs. He’s a talent.
“But over the last year and a half, Stephen has been one of Hearts’ best players in a side that cruised to third, got into a cup final and is now competing in Europe. I’d say he’s a better full-back than Greg Taylor too. What a free transfer he’s been. You’d pay heavy money for him now.”
Whilst Kingsley has proved to be a top signing for the Edinburgh side, particularly on a free transfer, in my opinion, there isn’t much in this comparison at all.
First off, Kingsley is a regular in the Hearts first team, but in recent times he hasn’t played all that much football as an out-and-out left-back.
Many of his appearances have come as part of a defensive back-three on the left-hand side. Now, that actually means he could slot quite well into Steve Clarke’s side, who have played a similar formation to Hearts.
However, that shouldn’t mean he is in the squad in place of Taylor, nor does it prove he is a better full-back than the Celtic regular.
To me, this suggests that Stevenson hasn’t even watched all that much of Taylor’s performances this season, given that he has easily been one of the best and most consistent members of Postecoglou’s squad.
The 24-year-old has come on leaps and bounds working under the former Socceroos boss, performing on the Champions League stage.
In previous years, there may have been some questions surrounding his inclusion in international squads.
But, after a good end to last season and coming into the 2022/23 campaign even stronger, there shouldn’t be any doubts at all about Taylor’s place in this Tartan Army squad.