GREG TAYLOR is hoping to play his part for Celtic in the crucial second half of the season.
The Scotland international left-back, who joined the champions in a £2.25million switch from Kilmarnock on transfer deadline day on September 2, is eager to get involved after his bit-part role so far.
Neil Lennon has kept faith with Boli Bolingoli, his £3million purchase from Vienna Rapid, and has also utilised the versatile Jonny Hayes in the No.3 position.
Taylor, speaking to this week’s Celtic View, said: “There was a tough amount of games in December. To get the wee break is always good for preparing us for the next half of the season because the next few months are key.
“The training in Dubai was very similar to a pre-season set-up because there’s a lot of hard graft.
“We did a variety of different things that we don’t usually get the chance to do in training back home because we’re always preparing for games. We got a good mix of work done throughout the week and it’ll only benefit us now that we’re back.
“The temperature was generally in the high 20s or low 30s, so the training was tough in the heat. That’s what you want at this time of year, though. We’ll all benefit from that and I think it’s set us up nicely for the second half of the season.”
It was Taylor’s first experience of the training camp after missing out on the club’s pre-season visit to Austria and Switzerland.
Taylor admitted he appreciated the chance to get to know the other players a bit better with them spending more time together.
He added: “It was good to spend a week together in close quarters and get to know some of the other boys in the team a bit more. You spend a lot of time together training, but you don’t always have quality time together chatting and really getting to know each other.
“I actually got to know Jozo a bit more because he’s been away on rehab for the majority of my time here at Celtic. It’s good to have him about the place and back training, so that’s another bonus.
“The closeness of a squad is really important. I’m quite loud, so I settle in quite quickly with everyone and I get on well with all the boys.
“The nucleus of the squad with boys like Broony and Cal is really important and they do a great job of bringing everyone together. They’ve been here for many years and they make a point of welcoming the new boys straight away.”
ADAM BOGDAN has extended his contract with Hibs until the end of the season.
The Hungarian keeper, who had been under contract with Liverpool until the end of the previous campaign, had agreed a short-term deal with the club back in November, which ran until January 1.
He will now remain at Easter Road until the end of the current term where he will compete with Ofie Marciano for the No.1 jersey.
He told Sky Sports News: “As I said in November, it feels so natural for me to be back at Hibernian. I know the players, the staff and the club inside-out and vice versa. My family and I are also really settled in the city.
“I was always hopeful that we would extend the agreement and the offer to go to the training camp in Spain was a show of faith for both sides.
“I read some kind words from Ofir talking about me and it goes without saying that I have a lot of respect for him.
“We help each other out on a daily basis and try to keep standards high, but – like any player – I want to do everything I can to play. There is healthy competition there.”
GREG DOCHERTY is on Sunderland’s wanted list and Wearside boss Phil Parkinson has admitted “initial chats with Rangers” over a deal for the midfielder.
The player spent last season on loan at Shrewsbury Town before returning to Steven Gerrard ‘s squad in the summer.
He has failed to find a place in the Ibrox first team, though, and hasn’t made a single Premiership appearance.
Docherty is set to be loaned out this month with the Black Cats and Charlton showing an interest.
Parkinson, in a report in the Daily Record, admitted: “Greg is one of the players we have looked at and we have had initial chats with Rangers.
“But there is a number of those discussions going on, and we will reconvene on that after Saturday.”