|Venue: Hampden Park, Glasgow Date: Sunday, 26 February Kick-off: 15:00 GMT|
|Protection: Pay attention on BBC Radio Scotland, reside textual content commentary on the BBC Sport web site & app|
When Alexandro Bernabei penned his five-year deal at Celtic in June, it was maybe assumed by many who the Argentine’s multi-million pound summer season transfer would sign the top of Greg Taylor’s temporary spell as Ange Postecoglou’s first-choice left-back.
The 22-year-old signing from Atletico Lanus was anticipated to be the newest in an extended line of shrewd acquisitions by the Celtic supervisor – and he could properly nonetheless change into – however Taylor has since cemented himself as one of many first names on Postecoglou’s group sheet.
Following final Saturday’s league victory over Aberdeen, the Scotland worldwide with 10 caps to his identify spoke of the extraordinary competitors for beginning locations – a driving issue that has made the full-back undroppable on the left of the Celtic defence.
With Sunday’s Outdated Agency Viaplay Cup closing quick approaching, BBC Scotland appears at how Taylor has gone from a bit-part participant to a key cog in Postecoglou’s aspect.
‘He is improved a hell of lots’ – however how?
Postecoglou is not normally one to single out particular person gamers for reward. When he does, you already know you might be heading in the right direction.
After Taylor marked his a hundredth Celtic look with a purpose and an help in October’s 3-0 win over Livingston, the Australian spoke of how the left-back has embraced the membership’s “surroundings the place gamers can always enhance”.
“He has improved a hell of lots as a result of he needs to enhance,” Postecoglou stated. “From the second I arrived, he is likely one of the few who’ve stayed on and you’ll see he is rising on a regular basis as a footballer.”
Taylor’s numbers actually again up his supervisor’s view. The complete-back has improved in virtually each facet of his recreation this season.
As a result of inverted nature of Postecoglou’s full-backs, the Scotland cap is concerned in a lot of Celtic’s play on the ball. Within the final two league video games alone, Taylor collected extra touches than some other participant in opposition to each St Johnstone (130) and Aberdeen (133).
In an attacking sense, Taylor’s present purpose tally of three is a profession excessive. He’ll virtually actually need to enhance on his solitary help, however his likelihood creation of 1.6 per 90 minutes is simply shy of team-mate Matt O’Riley, who leads the 2022-23 Premiership help chart with 10.
Compared to final season, Taylor has virtually doubled his taking pictures output (from 0.5 to 0.8 per 90), whereas he additionally averages 13 extra profitable passes within the opposition half.
Taylor’s defensive numbers have been extra steady, however the full-back has nonetheless managed to enhance on each his floor and aerial duel stats.
A ‘participant of the season’ contender?
Life at Celtic is rosy at current for Taylor, however he needed to bide his time after a tricky introduction.
Regardless of becoming a member of from Kilmarnock with the repute of a prime Premiership full-back, the previous Rangers youth product made simply 12 league appearances in his debut season for the membership.
The two,395 minutes he has performed to this point this time period is already better than the full he managed in his second season and is greater than 85% of the tally he racked up final marketing campaign.
Accidents, supervisor desire and the calls for of transferring to a membership with Celtic’s ambitions maybe all performed a job in his bit-part spell. However, for the reason that begin of 2022, Taylor has made himself a daily fixture in a aspect that gained each the Premiership and League Cup final time period.
Changing fellow Scotland left-back Kieran Tierney, who departed to Arsenal for a record-breaking £25m payment only a month earlier than Taylor’s arrival, additionally could not have been straightforward.
Taylor harassed he would make “no comparisons” with Tierney on the time of his signing again in September 2019. 4 years on, he hopes “somebody shall be getting in comparison with me” years down the road.
Tierney echoes the same sentiment. The Arsenal defender has even been selecting the brains of his Scotland team-mate, who Tierney believes may very well be set for a coveted particular person award.
“He is been good,” Tierney stated. “Inverted full-back, that is how [Arsenal] are enjoying, so I am watching him each week attempting to take ideas from him.”
Chatting with SunSport final month, the Arsenal full-back added: “Greg’s totally different from me. He is bought his personal strengths. He is very technical and on the ball he is among the many greatest there’s. For me, he is a contender for participant of the 12 months.”
Sustaining his present degree type will definitely have Taylor within the dialog for particular person awards come the top of the season. Sustaining it on Sunday, together with the remainder of his team-mates, may properly end in one other winner’s medal spherical his neck.