Celtic’s Greg Taylor jealous of Liverpool’s title party
A parody Rangers twitter account this week sneered that Liverpool had shown the way to claim a title after the Anfield club did so on the pitch. It was, they said, altogether more proper than earning a championship through a vote dropping into a quarantine folder – as happened when Celtic’s ninth straight title was confirmed when the season was curtailed by the Covid-19 global health crisis in a poll of the clubs that was overshadowed by Dundee’s disappearing ballot.
The fact is that Celtic’s squad would agree with this assessment. Full-back Greg Taylor concedes that he was green with envy over the manner that Liverpool could end a 30-year wait for English football’s most coveted prize.
“Seeing them have that moment together, it did make me feel like that,” said the 22-year-old. “We have still not actually been able to do that so there is a wee bit of jealousy. We were delighted to get nine in a row and it’s a massive achievement for the club but it would have been nice to celebrate it in front of the fans or just have that moment as a team.”
As attention now turns to training preparations – within the health guidelines – for their tilt at a record tenth consecutive championship, Taylor accepts that any Liverpool-style squad partying for him and his Celtic team-mates might never happen.
“Exactly,” said the defender, who joined Celtic from Kilmarnock in a £2 million deal ten months ago. “We had the odd Zoom call, a wee FaceTime with a few of the guys but the focus now is all on next season. We might miss out on that which is a wee bit of a downer. Equally, it is my first major trophy and I don’t want to downplay how proud that made me and my family.
“I was on the pitch at the end of the League Cup final but I was cup tied so those celebrations weren’t quite the same for me. As much as I was delighted for the boys I hadn’t played a minute in that competition so I wasn’t really part of it. I was ecstatic for them but I can’t claim that one. I did get a moment with the league trophy, a chance to hold it and have my photo taken so that was good. To at least have that memento is good, something to put away. Hopefully we’ll get our medals soon, too.
“But I’d really like to get the chance to lift a trophy in front of the fans too. It was [particularly frustrating] as it took me some time to get in but after January I managed to get a good run. I was loving every minute up until what happened.”
Any exasperation Taylor felt this week didn’t prevent him doing the right thing and contacting his Scotland captain and team-mate Andy Robertson to congratulate him on Liverpool’s success.
“I texted him on Friday morning to say well done and what a season,” Taylor said. “He got back to me after training to say thanks very much, top man. So it was brief. He has been enjoying his celebrations but, listen, it’s fully deserved. It’s been a long time coming for them.”
At international level, Taylor may be required to defer to the explosive left-back/wing-back into which Robertson has blossomed, but the Celtic full-back believes he has made strong progress on that front at Parkhead.
“Especially when we moved to a 3-5-2,” he said of his development as an attacking player. “As wing-back there was even more onus on me to get forward and probably hold the whole left side myself. It was tougher, something I really had to work on and something I’m still trying to work on. I think five assists, which was good. I hope I can get a few more in the new season.
“I have improved on that attacking aspect and just being at Celtic every day you are constantly learning. You are training and playing with better players and it rubs off. The main thing I’ve learned is judging when to push forward and attack. That’s a process I have worked on with Kendo [Celtic assistant John Kennedy] a lot. He has definitely coached me into a better player, both on the ball and in terms of playing inside more.
“I was used to having a winger in front of me at Kilmarnock so it was more about feeding the ball and keeping that rigid four at the back. I would support going forward but now the onus is on me to attack and hold wide and play into the two strikers we were using in the latter part of the season. I was enjoying that. It’s all about timing. I was used to backing up the play at Killie, now I need to be the one bombing and hitting the byline at times. It’s something I have enjoyed.”
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