Yesterday, Greg Taylor was in the media talking about how he is relishing the battle for the left back slot. He may well say that, as right now he’s – pardon the awful pun – in the driver’s seat and likely to stay there.
But his words echo others in the squad.
Last week, I wrote about how Liel Abada is the epitome of what a “good soldier” should be.
A guy who is getting on with the job and is ready to do whatever he’s called upon to do when he’s called upon to do it. Not for him any battering on the manager’s door and demanding to know why he isn’t in the team.
He’s patient, and he knows he’ll play his part.
For every player at Celtic right now, the situation is the same.
There are no guaranteed starters, perhaps not even Callum McGregor, the captain. Every player knows that he will have to sit out games, every player knows there is competition for his role.
And that makes players better. It’s the difference between having a squad made up of filler and one made up of players who, if you’re not performing, can easily assume your position and relegate you to the bench. That’s not its purpose with this manager – he wants to be able to rotate and to take people out of the side if they’ve played a lot of games.
But the effect is the same.
Everyone knows they have to meet Ange’s standards and not just once in a blue moon but every single week. You can already see the impact that’s had on our performances, with Taylor in particular reaching levels we’ve not seen from him.
This will only get better as the season goes on, and the players know that they are improving and that the team is doing well as a result. That’s why they welcome this competition; it pushes them harder to better displays.
Long may it continue.