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Forward-thinking Taylor eyes regular Celtic slot

 

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Good display: Greg Taylor and Hearts’ Jamie Walker battle for the ball during Celtic’s five-goal drubbing of the Edinburgh side

Good display: Greg Taylor and Hearts’ Jamie Walker battle for the ball during Celtic’s five-goal drubbing of the Edinburgh side

PA

Good display: Greg Taylor and Hearts’ Jamie Walker battle for the ball during Celtic’s five-goal drubbing of the Edinburgh side

Greg Taylor hopes he can lock down a regular place in the Celtic line-up after being freed of his defensive shackles.

The Hoops full-back earned his Parkhead move last summer on the back of his solid defensive displays for Kilmarnock, but as a Celtic player, the 22-year-old knows that even those lining up at the back are expected to contribute going forward.

Taylor took his time breaking into Neil Lennon's line-up but has certainly played his part in the recent run of wins that has allowed the champions to romp clear of the field in the race for the title, with five starts in the last eight games.

The Scotland defender has thrived in a new wing-back role since Lennon switched to a 3-5-2 system, teeing up goals for Callum McGregor and Ryan Christie during Wednesday's five-goal drubbing of Hearts.

But he knows he will need to continue contributing at both ends of the pitch if he is to keep his place.

"I'm enjoying it," he said. "The team's playing well and so am I. We're scoring a lot of goals and keeping clean sheets.

"I never played 3-5-2 at Kilmarnock, so there is a wee bit more onus on me to get involved in the attacking play now.

"Thankfully I got a couple of assists against Hearts and I also got one against St Johnstone the other week too, so I'm enjoying the role. But even when we played as a back four, I had the licence to go and join in the play.

"It's important not to go gung-ho and leave the guys at the back too open, but playing as a wing-back, you do get more chance to get forward.

"It's about learning. I want to improve. This is my longest run in the team, so I'm growing in confidence with every game.

"I want to become a regular at Celtic. That was always my aim.

"I understand that at a massive club like this there is competition for places, but I've got full belief in myself that I can become a regular. That's what I aim to become."

Taylor's Celtic Park arrival coincided with Kieran Tierney's record-breaking switch to Arsenal and he realises comparisons with the man he was bought to replace are inevitable.

"Kieran was an outstanding player for this club," he said. "I'm well aware of how good he was but I can only do what I can do.

"It's definitely a positive if you're being compared to Kieran as he's a top, top player."

The Hoops support feel their team have got one hand on a ninth successive league title after seeing Rangers slip up against Killie on Wednesday.

Belfast Telegraph