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BACK PAGE BULLETIN: TAYLOR FOCUSES ON DONS MISSION, KILLIE BOSS SPOTS GERS FLAWS, MAIN TARGETS HOOPS

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GREG TAYLOR admitted it is too early for Celtic to get excited about the 10-point gap that has opened up at the top of the Premiership.

While the Scotland international left-back, who arrived in a £2.25million switch from Kilmarnock in summer, was helping the champions overcome Hearts 5-0 last night, his old side were staging a 2-1 comeback triumph over Rangers at Rugby Park.

Taylor, who combined superbly with Callum McGregor for the midfielder to sweep in the third goal against the Edinburgh strugglers, insisted the Hoops are maintaining their focus on the game against Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

The attacking wing-back, speaking to the club website, said: “We had a good mini pre-season in Dubai, we’ve worked hard and now we’ve got another big game on Sunday.

“There’s a long way to go, it’s only February. All focus goes on to the next game and now we want to go to Pittodrie and, hopefully, get three points.”

The pacy 22-year-old defender is already working on a partnership with McGregor down the left while he is keeping Jonny Hayes and Boli Bolingoli out of the line-up.

He added: “I’m enjoying myself, we’re scoring a lot of goals and keeping clean sheets, which is what we want to do. Personally, I want to help the team score as many goals as I can, but at the same time, I’m a defender, so I want to keep clean sheets.

“There is more onus on attacking play here at Celtic and I was delighted to get two assists against Hearts. One of those might have been debatable, but I’m definitely taking it! I got one against St Johnstone the other week, as well.

“Whether we play in a three or a four at the back, there is always that license to join in the forward play whenever it’s on.

“I want to become a regular at Celtic, that was always my aim when I came through the door.

“I understand that at a massive club like this, though, there is competition for places, but I’ve got full belief in myself that I can become a regular and that’s what I aim to do.

“Now, we turn our full focus on Aberdeen and getting three points at a tough ground.”

The champions ran amok at Pittodrie earlier in the campaign when they scored four goals in the opening half with Odsonne Edouard, Jeremie Frimpong, Mohamed Elyounoussi and James Forrest on target.

It was tighter in Glasgow where Neil Lennon’s men had to battle all the way to get the points with goals from Christopher Jullien and Edouard while Sam Cosgove, who was later red-carded, hit one for the visitors.

KILMARNOCK boss admitted he was not surprised his team staged a 2-1 comeback win over Rangers at Rugby Park last night.

The Ayrshire gaffer reckoned he had spotted flaws at the back in Steven Gerrard’s side who had led at half-time with a superb long-range strike from Scott Arfield.

The visitors dominated fair chunk of the opening proceedings, but Killie clawed their way back into the game after the break.

Scotland international right-back Stephen O’Donnell equalised before Eamonn Brophy rattled in the winner with just two minutes to go.

Asked if he felt that the Ibrox outfit were vulnerable at 1-1, Dyer, speaking to the STV, replied: “A little bit.

“Only because I knew if we stepped up then we could show how good we were. We kept asking questions and putting balls into the box and caused them problems.”

Speaking of Brophy’s points-clincher, Dyer added: “It was a brilliant finish. It was a great flick from Nicke Kabamba, Eamonn got onto it sharp and hit it early. I think that’s what cause the keeper problems. A great finish and a great result.

“First-half, it wasn’t us. We contained them quite well, up to a point, but we showed them a bit too much respect.

“We had a good chat at half-time and second-half was much more like us. We used the ball better and had a better tempo. We knew we could cause them problems if we put ourselves into the game a bit more.”

CURTIS MAIN believes he has done enough to persuade Derek McInnes to play him against Celtic at Pittodrie on Sunday.

The former Motherwell striker ended the Dons’ 469-minute goal drought with the opener in the 3-1 win over Hamilton Accies on Tuesday night.

McInnes left out top scorer Sam Cosgrove to field Main at the FYO Stadium in only his eighth league start and he responded with just his second goal.

The frontman, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “I fully expect to retain my place for Sunday. I don’t see myself coming in, putting in a performance and coming out the side. That’s not my personality or something I would ever accept for myself.

“Whatever the decision is, in my head my thought is that I’m looking forward to the next game.

“As a centre-forward, you just want to get into a rhythm and play games consecutively to establish yourself in the team. I wanted to do it a lot quicker, but these things happen in football.

“Let’s just say I know where the manager’s office is! He needs to expect that, it comes with the job. He knows from my point of view I’m here to play. I’m here to work hard and do well for the club and I’m obviously banging on the door and asking for opportunities when I’m not getting them.

“It’s always nice to come in when you’ve been out the side and remind people exactly why you are here in the first place.

“If the team’s playing well and winning games and the centre-forwards are scoring, then that’s the time you hold your hands up and say: ‘Fair dos, no problem’.

“But when things aren’t going so well, you hope to get your chance and make an impression and show why you deserve to be in the starting line-up.

“I came in during the summer hoping to keep progressing and to go straight into the team and show the Aberdeen fans what they’d signed.

“Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to get into the team as frequently as I’d have liked for various reasons.

“I’ve had to be patient and knuckle down and work hard behind the scenes, some of the stuff that maybe goes unnoticed, to be ready for opportunities like Tuesday night.”

 

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Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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