Celtic fringe man can use international boost to stake first-team claim

Greg Taylor has had to be patient since his deadline day move to Celtic from Kilmarnock.

As a trip to Ibrox loomed at the start of September, and with the jury still being out on Boli Bolingoli, many Celtic fans felt Taylor could be chucked in at the deep end for his debut.

A spanner in the works meant that his transfer wasn’t completed until after Celtic’s emphatic win over Steven Gerrard’s side, emerging not just with three points but a new first-choice back-line.

Along with fellow summer signings Hatem Abd Elhamed and Christopher Jullien, Bolingoli went a long way to overcoming doubters with his performance in the 2-0 win.

After overcoming a niggling injury, Taylor made a few appearances on the bench before seemingly disappearing from view altogether, before finally making his debut at the end of October in a 2-0 win over St Mirren.

While unfortunate timing may initially have conspired to delay Taylor’s first appearance in the Hoops, the 22-year-old has been the beneficiary of circumstance in the dark blue of Scotland.

With fellow left-backs Andy Robertson and Kieran Tierney both failing to make the Scotland squad through injury, Taylor was pitched in by old Killie boss Stevie Clarke and took his chance to impress.

He set up John McGinn for the winner in Cyprus and repeated the feat last night against Kazakhstan at Hampden, while James Forrest may have done better from one of his cutbacks.

Neil Lennon is a fan of Taylor but explained the omission of the ‘bonafide left-back’ from the squad in favour of the more versatile Jonny Hayes.

Speaking last month, Lennon said: “It’s pointless having one bonafide left-back when you have a player who can factor a couple of positions for you.”

Hayes’ adaptability and attitude certainly can’t be faulted and the Irishman justified his selection in the win in Rome.

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However, Taylor has now backed up a decent debut in the Hoops with two fine performances for Scotland, during which he showed a willingness to get forward and an ability to create chances from those advanced positions.

Taylor admits the lack of first-team action at Parkhead ‘hasn’t been ideal’, but he’ll have done his cause no harm in the eyes of Celtic fans who tuned into Scotland’s dead rubber double-header.

With a heavy run of fixtures coming up between now and the end of the year, Celtic fans will be wondering if the time is right for Taylor to finally make his mark at his new club.

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