“It’s the best feeling in the world,” says Celtic Star Greg Taylor

Sympathy for his captain may have been in short supply, but there was no scarcity of respect when Greg Taylor, as reported by the Herald discussed his captain Callum McGregor, following Celtic’s 3-0 victory over Livingston at Celtic Park on Wednesday night.

Celtic v Livingston – Callum McGregor is presented with a framed shirt by manager Ange Postecoglou after making 400 appearances for Celtic before the match at Celtic Park, Wednesday February 1, 2023. Photo Andrew Milligan

McGregor – who had received a presentation pre-match to mark his 400th Celtic appearance at Tannadice three days prior to the Livi meeting – went down with a bloodied nose in a firm but fair midfield tussle with Bruce Anderson.

And after an al-fresco change of bloodied shorts – much to the delight of the wolf-whistling main stand – the Celtic captain got straight back to action after collecting another facial injury to add to last season’s fractured cheekbone .

Celtic v Livingston – Celtic Park Celtic s Callum McGregor changes his shorts after having being treated for an injury during the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park, Wednesday February 1, 2023. Photo Andrew Milligan

“He thinks he’s broken it but I don’t believe it. I think he just wanted a cuddle but with or without the mask he’s doing all right. He’s unbelievable, he’s a leader, a top player, a top guy. He’s so consistent in every game and he makes it easier for the boys around him. I love playing with him and love having him as the captain.”

Respect is clearly something Taylor has for Celtic’s on-field leader, and it is something that extends not just to those already established as top performers at Celtic, but also to those fresh through the door. And Taylor took time out to comment on what it’s like trying to keep your place in a team where the quality and mentality within the dressing room offers fierce competition.

Celtic v Livingston – Callum McGregor is congratulated by manager Ange Postecoglou after being substituted off during the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park, Wednesday February 1, 2023. Photo Andrew Milligan

“It’s always competitive at a club this size, you can’t rest on what you’ve done in the previous game, you’re 90 minutes away from a disaster because you’ve always got someone breathing down your neck. And when they get an opportunity, they often take it.”

“I think we only have Tony (Ralston) out and he’s back training. Everyone’s pushing, everyone’s eager and everyone wants an opportunity. It’s rare for anyone who does get an opportunity not to take it because the standard of training’s so good throughout the week. You can’t afford to be off it even one day in training or your place has gone.”

Taylor has already seen off some tough challenges for his place in the Celtic team since his £3m signing from Kilmarnock in 2019. If being viewed as a replacement for a legendary figure in Kieran Tierney wasn’t hard enough, Taylor has seen off the likes of Boli Bolingoli, Diego Laxalt Liam Scales and Adam Montgomery, before fresh competition arrived this summer in Argentine acquisition Alex Bernabei. Yet Taylor still lays claim to being Celtic’s first choice left back – no mean feat in a squad game where few players Ange Postecoglou has signed can be deemed anything other than a success.

Celtic v Livingston – cinch Premiership – Greg Taylor celebrates scoring the first goal with team-mates during the match at Celtic Park: Wednesday February 1, 2023. Photo Andrew Milligan

“The manager has a clear philosophy so it’s easier for the boys who come in because we’ve a set way of playing. We know they’ll give 100 percent, the mentality of the new guys is outstanding and hopefully that’ll be the case with any other new guys who come through the door.

“They’ve settled really well. You see Oh when he came on, he’s a handful, he’s young and eager and he’s going to bring something to the party. Tommo and Ally have settled in straight away, Yuki, they’ve all contributed already at an early stage and I’m sure that’ll continue as the season goes on.

“We’ve lost boys who’ve done really well for us and it’s important to be grateful for their contribution. But the new lads will be major contributors as the season goes on. We’ve a strong squad and a big squad so our aim is to train as hard as we can and hope for an opportunity at the weekend. If players come in or leave it’s above our heads, we concentrate on training and games.”

Celtic v Livingston – Callum McGregor in action during the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park,Wednesday February 1, 2023. Photo Andrew Milligan

Mastering the inverted full-back role, after a patient learning process, has seen Taylor even emerge as a goal threat this season – and his opening goal against Livingston – and what a strike that was – was his third of the season.

“Reo did well to pick me out in the box and it was a case of trying to keep it on target. Thankfully it went in,” he said of his opener. This is my most prolific season by a long way but that’s only three, so it’s not crazy numbers. But it’s the best feeling in the world when the ball hits the back of the net. I think Wednesday was the first time I’ve done it with fans in, so it was nice.”

Greg Taylor may extend the sympathy for his captain’s bloodied nose only as far as a dressing room hug, but you can be sure his captain respects the leadership role Greg Taylor now appears to have taken on board in recent months – as such you can be certain the respect between left back and captain is very much mutual.

Niall J

About Author

As a Bellshill Bhoy I was taken to my first Celtic game in the summer of 1987. It was Billy McNeill’s return to Celtic Park as manager and Celtic lost 5-1 to Arsenal . I thought I was a jinx, I think my Grandfather might have thought the same. It was the finest gift anyone ever gave me when he walked me through Parkhead's gates.

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