Greg Taylor: Celtic success down to strong mentality

·3-min read
Steve Welsh/PA Wire

Greg Taylor highlighted the “strong mentality” Ange Postecoglou has fostered at Celtic as the Hoops close in on a domestic treble.

The Parkhead side booked their place in the Scottish Cup final with a 1-0 win over Rangers at Hampden Park on Sunday.

The victory, thanks to a Jota header just before the interval, stretched Celtic’s unbeaten run over their Old Firm rivals to six matches and set them up for the June 3 final against Championship side Inverness.

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The ViaPlay Cup is already in the Parkhead trophy room and the cinch Premiership title will be guaranteed with a win over Hearts at Tynecastle on Sunday.

And Scotland left-back Taylor is in no doubt as to what quality is underpinning Celtic’s current domination.

“We have such a strong mentality in all games and that comes from not treating any game differently,” said Taylor.

“The next game is the most important, regardless of occasion and that is a philosophy the manager has brought in.

“We don’t waste a training session, we don’t waste a game so when it comes to these big ones it certainly helps.

“They (Rangers) are a good opponent, let’s not be unfair.

“You have seen how close they have been, they are so difficult but as I touched on about the mentality, we don’t change just for these big games.

“We have the same mentality throughout, the same focus for every game and I think that does help.”

The former Kilmarnock defender, who joined Celtic in 2019, turns his attention to Hearts away, the first of five post-split fixtures.

Celtic are 13 points ahead of second-placed Rangers, who host Aberdeen this weekend, and only a cataclysmic collapse would prevent the title returning to the east end of Glasgow.

Taylor said: “We have a big, important league game to take care of when it comes to it on Sunday.

“We know what’s at stake there and Tynecastle is a very difficult place to go. We now just get a good training week in and aim to do the business come Sunday.”

Meanwhile, Celtic have announced they will be visiting Japan for a week this summer as part of their pre-season preparations, following an initial European training camp.

Postecoglou joined Celtic from Yokohama F Marinos in 2021 and his Japanese recruits include Kyogo Furuhashi, Daizen Maeda, Reo Hatate, Yuki Kobayashi, Tomoki Iwata and Yosuke Ideguchi.

The Celtic boss told the club’s official website: “We are really looking forward to our summer tour to Japan, and we’re sure it will be hugely successful for the club and excellent preparation for next season.

“Clearly, Celtic has a real, long-standing connection with Japan, through previous visits and players such as Shunsuke Nakamura and, of course, now through our current squad members, so it will be great to visit and really bring this relationship to life.

“As we saw from our brilliant visit to Australia last year, the appetite for Celtic globally is huge and it is right that we maximise these great opportunities and show the world all that is great about our club.

“We wanted to pay respect to Japanese football so we are delighted to be engaging with the J-League and its clubs.

“Japanese football is on a real upward trajectory at the moment, so we know we will be facing real tests, something which will be great for the team as we go into the challenges of next season.”

The opposition for the games in Japan will be announced soon.