Greg Taylor can count himself unlucky not to have been named in Steve Clark’s Scotland squad to face Cyprus and Spain for the Euro 2024 qualifiers, on 25th and 28th of March respectively.
The squad make-up of two left backs and two right backs certainly indicates Clarke intends to revert back to a back four defence for these upcoming games, and with Andy Robertson and Kieran Tierney available for selection it is perhaps just this formation change that has held Taylor back from adding to his 10 Scotland caps.
Yet Taylor shouldn’t perhaps give up hope just yet, as both Tierney and Robertson have not been without their injury concerns this season, and should either player have to withdraw you’d like to think Greg Taylor would be the next in line for a call up.
Taylor has been a player transformed under Ange Postecoglou and has performed as an inverted full back in a four-man defence outstandingly well in this season in particular, evidencing he can take his domestic form onto the European stage to boot.
You can be sure then that the squad announcement this morning will have left Taylor somewhat deflated, but instead he can focus on his club football safe in the knowledge that should opportunity knock, Taylor – arguably a player of the year contender in Scotland – will be far more ready to do himself justice than he perhaps would have been prior to Ange Postecoglou’s coaching impact.
Celtic only have one representative in Steve Clarke’s side this season – Callum McGregor – with Tony Ralston and David Turnbull both also missing out, likely due to a lack of regular gametime of late rather than any slight on their footballing abilities, and it is in the shape of his club captain that Greg Taylor as well as Ralston and Turnbull could take inspiration.
2017 was a big year for Callum – he made his 100th appearance for Celtic in March, scored his first Champions League goal in October against Bayern Munich, and then he made his senior Scotland debut in a friendly against the Netherlands in November. He was already 24 by the time he got the overdue call up to the national team, and it is only in the last three seasons where he has become a first pick.
Taylor has now made 117 appearances for Celtic alongside his 10 international caps and despite a lack of international starts, time is still on his side at 25 years of age to set about changing that, particularly with Tierney’s longstanding injury record and Robertson’s being four years older than Taylor.
It’s perhaps not a complete shock to not see Greg Taylor’s name in a Scotland starting line-up, but not to be included in the squad is something of a surprise, given his improvement under Ange Postecoglou over the last two seasons.
However, things do change in football – and they can do so quickly. And Greg Taylor will fancy his chances of making an impression on Steve Clarke should the make-up of the Scotland manager’s squad change over the course of the next couple of weeks. He only needs to look across the dressing room at Lennoxtown for an example of that.
🏴 Steve Clarke has named his Scotland squad for our upcoming @EURO2024 qualifiers against Cyprus and Spain.
— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) March 14, 2023