Taylor made: The rise of Greg Taylor at Kilmarnock

By Stefan Bienkowski BBC Sport Scotland
'Clarke's coaching can have an immediate impact on Scotland'
Euro 2020 qualifying: Scotland v Cyprus
Venue: Hampden Park, Glasgow Date: Saturday, 8 June Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

Greg Taylor may well have the toughest task in Scottish football.

Despite his stellar season at Kilmarnock earning the left-back his first ever Scotland call-up, he faces the unenviable position of trying to leapfrog Celtic's Kieran Tierney and Champions League winner Andy Robertson.

However, for all the stiff competition facing the 21-year-old, under Steve Clarke's guidance at Rugby Park Taylor has rightly led his old Killie boss to call on his services in his first international squad.

Here, BBC Scotland looks at what has propelled Taylor into the Scotland fold.

Teaching a new dog old tricks

Although Taylor is very much a modern full-back , the 21-year-old has actually become far more disciplined under Clarke's tutelage at Kilmarnock.

For example, over the last three seasons we've seen the left-back's rate of interceptions per Scottish Premiership game go up 12% from 4.28 in the 2016/17 campaign to 4.8 across the two campaigns under the new Scotland manager.

In the season before Clarke arrived at Rugby Park, Taylor gave the ball away in his own half 4.8 times per league match. Since then that figure has dropped by a fifth, down to 3.8 losses in each match.

Smarter attacking moves

Of course, that's not to say that Taylor gave up any ambitions of crossing the half-way line during Clarke's time at Kilmarnock. When we dig in to his attacking stats we can see plenty of evidence to suggest he still works on creating or scoring goals.

For example, Taylor's progressive runs -i.e dribbles that advance the ball 10 or more yards in attack, or into the 18-yard-box - have increased by 32% over the past two seasons. And the amount of touches he makes in the box has also more than doubled from prior to Clarke's arrival.

What's intriguing about these numbers is that Taylor's overall dribbles per match have fallen by 28% since Clarke took over, suggesting that while the defender isn't making as many runs with the ball - or indeed as many crosses - he is providing more direct runs with the ball and getting on to the end of moves in the opposing box with far more regularity.

What the player had to say

On his competition, Taylor said: "I can only benefit from seeing what Andy does in training, seeing what Andy does in games.

"I'm in the squad right now. If called upon, I look forward to taking my chance."

On being reunited with Clarke, he added: "I think all of my game has improved under Clarke.

"When to attack, when not to attack. Knowing when not to get dragged out of position. Every little detail of my game has gone a step up. Apart from the technical stuff, because he can't really affect that, but in terms of tactics he's improved every little bit."

"We learned something every single day. Even the boys that weren't playing. He takes interest in every, single player. He's very hands on with the players. It's very intense."

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