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Steve Clarke insists Greg Taylor deserves a Scotland shot

The Kilmarnock boss reckons his left-back is ready for a step-up to international football.

Taylor has been nominated for SFWA Young Player of the Year.
Taylor has been nominated for SFWA Young Player of the Year. SNS Group

Kilmarnock manager Steve Clarke believes his left-back Greg Taylor is ready to be tested at international level, and there's no better time to do it than now.

Taylor has been a consistent performer as Clarke has led Killie through two impressive seasons and both have been recognised with nominations for the Football Writers' Awards.

Clarke was fulsome in his praise for Taylor, saying the awards nod was well deserved. When asked if it was unfortunate that Scotland was well-served with left-backs right now, he said that didn't mean the 21-year-old shouldn't get a chance.

"There's no reason why he can't be chapping on the door anyway," he said.

"There's some rumours going around that Kieran Tierney's going to go for a post-season operation and Andy Robertson's involved in a Champions League final, which is fantastic. So there will be space. There's always the chance of an opportunity in football because circumstances can always change.

"You never know until you put them in at that level. He's been very, very consistent at Premiership level for me since I came to the club. He's been absolutely outstanding.

"He's served his time with the under-21s. So until you actually put them in to the next step, you never know.

"I'm pretty sure he's got the talent to do it.

"I think Greg's got loads of potential. His attitude and his desire to do well is something that'll drive him a long, long way in the game."

Kilmarnock are now focused on the two remaining games that could see them finish third in the Premiership. Having moved ahead of Aberdeen, wins in their two home games against Hibs and Rangers would seal Europa League football and another high point in the manager's reign. But he says there's no pressure added for him and his squad.

"It was never a target for us so there is no pressure on whether we finish third or fourth," he said.

"The target was always to secure back-to-back top six finishes. We've done that.

"We wanted to beat last season's points tally. We've done that.

"We're going to finish higher than fifth, which is where we finished last year. So for us it's achieve, achieve, achieve this year.

"Whether we finish third or fourth is irrelevant. Obviously we want to finish third, we want to finish with six points because that's how we approach every game. If we win both games we'll finish third and that'll be great.

"We'll play with the pressure we put ourselves under. We put pressure on ourselves in every single game to play to our maximum. I've always harped on about it here that we look to set a standard, we look to play as well as we can play. If that's good enough to get us the points then that's what we aim for."

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