Taylor looking to become Celtic regular after being freed of defensive shackles

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 when the chance is on.

“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 and I’ve done that over the last few months. I’ve been fed wee bits of information and taken it all on board. I’m a keen learner and I want to improve.

“This is my longest run in the team so I’m growing in confidence with every game. Long may it continue.

“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 in the next few months.”

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. I just want to keep playing, keep improving going forward and defensively.”

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

News of Eamonn Brophy’s 88th-minute winner for Killie sparked scenes of joy around Parkhead but Taylor knows it will be the Ibrox fans celebrating if his team hand back some of their 10-point lead against Aberdeen on Sunday.

“There’s a long way to go,” he insisted. “We’re still only in February, so we’re only looking to Sunday and hopefully another three points.

“All focus is on Aberdeen. Pittodrie is a tough place to go and Aberdeen are always up at the top end of the table.

“All we can do is churn out the games and hopefully churn out the wins.”