The Most Under Pressure Player At Celtic Soldiers On Amidst Ever Growing Uncertainty.

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It is a mark of mental strength to keep on playing whilst surrounded by doubts and questions and speculation about your future.

Greg Taylor has had it all in the past three years. The ex-Kilmarnock boy, whose only real problem is that his name isn’t Kieran Tierney, has been an excellent servant for this club and a far better signing that many thought he would be.

But Greg Taylor has been under the most intense pressure since the first match he played for Celtic. In just about every transfer window, there has been talk about who we are bringing in to replace him.

Diego Laxalt was first, and he didn’t cut it. Bolingoli got an opportunity and was actually signed originally, in the same window as Taylor, as the starter … he could not dislodge him from the team. Ange tried Juranovic there but Taylor was better.

In the summer last season, we brought Bernabei. He was nowhere near dislodging Taylor from the side. Liam Scales was considered as a left back option and has played there and done well, but he wasn’t able to get Taylor out of the side either.

All through the summer, names were being tossed around. Yet Taylor is still here, still first choice, and he’s going into yet another window wondering who will be brought in to play in his position. The name everyone assumed it would be – the Portuguese Tiago Araujo – is now off the radar. Celtic don’t think he’s a £4 million player and that’s what we’ve being asked to pay.

Whoever we sign in that position has to be a significant and obvious upgrade on Greg Taylor and that’s not going to be as easy to find as people think. Taylor hasn’t proved easy to shift so far, and he’s mentally strong enough that he’ll keep on doing what he’s doing regardless of all the noise in the background. And I would rather have someone like that in the team than take a punt on some total unknown who might not be up to the job.

I am glad it won’t be Araujo because nothing about him impressed me in the least, except that he was physically strong. The stat-cruncher don’t like him because his passing under pressure is suspect and that’s the last thing we need playing a high line. He screams “project” and Taylor is better than some project, and he deserves more respect than that.

Can we do better than Greg Taylor? Absolutely. Do I expect us to in the fullness of time? Yes, most certainly. But is it critical that we replace him in this window? I don’t think so, because he’s more than up to the job in Scotland and this can wait until the summer. But it does seem as if this is a position we want to try and fill this month.

Bernabei is a dreadful player. He’s one of the reasons it makes it easy to cast doubt on Mark Lawwell’s qualifications for the job, as he’s one of his players. We will probably need to move him on before we think about a permanent player in this position, but don’t rule out someone on loan. Right now, I would prefer that … as a backup to Taylor.

Because Taylor has been a good player for us and deserves a little loyalty at this point. If he’s going to be the backup we’ll need to sign somebody damned impressive or it’s a waste of time and money because Taylor will just keep him out of the side.

I am a Greg Taylor fan. It might not be fashionable but I admit it freely. The boy has been a much better signing than many are willing to credit. If it turns out that we do buy a good left back this window and he is relegated to the bench it will not be because he’s failed but simply the result of football’s most unforgiving metric; we found someone better.

There is no shame in that. Greg Taylor has earned his Celtic place.

If someone wants it they are going to have to do the same. Nobody we sign there is going to get that spot by right. Taylor has seen off all comers so far. I wouldn’t bet against him.

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  • Sean says:

    100 per cent. Greg Taylor despite his flaws rarely lets us down. Could we be doing with a left back whos 6ft 2 with an engine like a rolls Royce who can defend like a Trojan but also attack like he’s Gareth bale? Yup but so could most clubs in the world. There’s no point in just stockpiling players while the squads already bloated so get bernabei out first before we can see if we can replace Taylor. I’m sure there’s academy prospects who could step in to a spl game if required in the meantime. Every club needs guys like Taylor imo. Will give you everything when they play and will also be an excellent squad player. Until we can find better then let the boy be.

    • Moray McRobert says:

      Great piece, James. The amount of times Greg has placed a perfect defence-splitting pass to a more ‘favoured’ player only to be wasted,, or the overlaps he tirelessly made for Palma in Europe (which were not seen or ignored – much to the manager’s disgust) and yet it’s Greg that gets it in the neck for a slip up, (everyone has them) or for taking too long at a throw in or whatever.
      He has been a great servant to the club and I just hope we as ‘supporters’ don’t chase him away.

  • Dando says:

    I’ve been hugely critical of GT but in the last month he’s been excellent, even winning headers…. however we still need another LB to challenge him…..


  • Bob L says:

    Have to disagree. Taylor seldom lets Celtic down. Really?? Big games he is caught out of position, has no height to defend crosses and has little pace, but apart from that? He was skinned at least twice in last rangers game that could have resulted in goals.

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    It just goes to show – Sometimes Scottish guys are better than foreign guys…

    And they don’t need time to ‘settle in’ and they ain’t afraid of the cold blizzards at Pittodrie etc –

    And they have more chance of distributing The Brick for Brick, Boot for band Bottle for Bottle retribution if so needs be !

  • Paddybhoy67 says:

    Yup – he’s seen off the challengers one after another. When played in his best role, he’s really good, but he needs cover at the back which is why Scales has been such a good fit (imho).

  • Francis brodie says:

    I like Taylor but it is plain to see most teams play high balls out their wingers as I think he is just too small hh

  • sligo123456!! says:

    Guy has done very well over the last few years and no way should he be sold on. Even if we sign the best left back in the world (no laughing at the back please) we still need to keep him as cover or 1st choice for that position!

  • sligo123456 says:

    Sorry about the!! Dont know what happened there.

  • Pat says:

    It’s a damned shame the hate towards Greg from a good number of the support. His workrate must be amongst the highest in the team and is always making runs and being available. Must be disheartening for him to see fans clamouring for him to be replaced constantly .

  • Johnny Green says:

    First of all Ange Postecoglou wasn’t perfect, he made mistakes, and preferring Greg Taylor to Liam Scales was the biggest mistake of all. Also giving credit to Ange for signing the likes of O’Riley but not recognising the fact that he also signed Bernabei is a bit rich. Greg Taylor was Ange’s blue eyed boy and that is the main reason we have had a journeyman playing in that position for so long. He’s a liability, he’s as bad at defending as Tavernier, but not nearly as good going forward as he is. I for one will be very glad to see the back of him and the sooner the better.

    • Michael McCartney says:

      Liam Scales was bombed out by Postecoglou when he was taken to the cleaners against Bodo Glimt in Europe. Let’s be honest most supporters had written Scales off and it’s to his great credit he grabbed his chance when it came this season.
      The comparison you make between GT and Tavernier is pretty accurate The Ibrox player is Better at free kicks and of course penalty kicks and gets forward well, but to me he is a worse defender than GT and he doesn’t find a pass going forward as good as Taylor.
      I don’t think there is much between the players and I think that’s a compliment to Taylor as I rate Tavernier with all his defensive deficiencies as probably the best Ibrox player over the past 5 years.
      Very hard to get the perfect player even big Tommy Gemmell got taken to the cleaners defensively now and again.

  • Matt says:

    Greg Taylor will normally give the ball away within 15-20 seconds in just about every match. I actually think he gives the ball away more than johnny Hayes did. I can’t wait to see another LB in the building. He’s played ok, but he’s nit the answer. I’m desperate fir a new LB.

  • Michael McCartney says:

    As I’ve said many times all those critical of a good club servant like GT should come up with names of left full backs who will cost less than 10 million and is available.
    GT like lots of wing backs is really good going forward but can be caught out by fast counter attacks especially in Europe.
    AJ at right wing back, a player I like, has actually been been at fault in Europe this season on a couple of occasions and hasn’t taken nearly as much criticism.
    Postecoglou didn’t replace GT and I’m pretty sure Rodgers won’t replace him in the near future.Some of the completely unrealistic Celtic super critics should calm down.

  • Fat mike says:

    Dead right, doesnt get enough credit for how much hes grown as a player, especially when ange came in. Although, Taylor has played at a relentless pace and nearly every game for the last couple of years. He is getting to the point he’s due an injury, then what? Nothing but quality will do, even if its am aging backup on a short term contract

  • Steven Murphy says:

    I’m also a Greg Taylor fan he does deserve much more respect and loyalty. He’s dependable isn’t injury prone and is mentally tough enough for a hoops jersey. He has seen off lots of competitors even the best players give the ball away on occasions keep up the good work Greg.

  • John S says:

    Greg Taylor is just fine. Backup required, not replacement.

  • Mick wood says:

    Im killie fan .taylor is good player but if Celtic are to progress in Europe the open play they play you need physical animals as a back four.imo he just doesn’t come close.

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