ON the last occasion that Celtic visited Rugby Park to play Kilmarnock back in August they slumped to a 1-0 defeat in the Viaplay Cup which ended their hopes of completing another domestic treble this season. 

The painful 1-0 loss also prompted claims from media pundits and disgruntled supporters that Brendan Rodgers' style of football did not bring the best out in Callum McGregor and his team mates.

That accusation has persisted in the months since as the Parkhead club's players have, despite beating Rangers at Ibrox and opening up an eight point lead at the top of the cinch Premiership, occasionally struggled to scale the heights of last term. 

Yet, left-back Greg Taylor has described suggestions that a seismic shift away from Angeball, as the attacking football which Rodgers' predecessor Ange Postecoglou advocated was coined, has led to a dip in performance levels at home and abroad as "a myth".

The Scotland internationalist, who was often asked to perform the inverted full-back role by Postecoglou, believes that a raft of injuries and an influx of new personnel has been responsible for the Scottish champions' toiling at times. 

The defender is confident that Celtic will show just how much they have progressed under Rodgers when they return to Ayrshire to face his former club in the league tomorrow and underline they are firmly on course to retain their title.  

"It’s been a building stage so far this season," he said. "Gradually we’ve improved along the way. "I think we’ve improved a lot since then.

"It was a new team with new ideas that was still gelling. Domestically, we’ve got a lot stronger and we want to continue that for the rest of the season.

"The manager touched on the first half at St Johnstone, when it wasn’t good enough, last week. There have been moments in games when we’ve not quite got to the levels.

"But there have been some good performances. I thought we dominated the other night against Hibs and the Aberdeen game at home was a strong display.

"Yes, there have been times when we’ve had to battle and grind, but there’s been improvement along the way."

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Asked how much of a change there had been under Rodgers, Taylor said: "It’s not that different to be honest. I think it’s a similar structure.

"Under the last manager there was a focus on the full backs being inverted and so on. But that wasn’t always the case. It was more about finding the space and it’s the same under the manager now.

"We still want to play high pressure, attacking football and dominate the ball. That's what we’ve tried to do. In Europe we’ve fallen short in terms of results, if not performances, but there have been moments domestically.

"I definitely still have license to go inside the way I used to. So it’s the exact same. The manager likes that way of playing, so I have full license to do that.

"It’s a bit of a myth that I don't. I think when some people get an idea in their head that it’s not something you do any more than it can be portrayed that way."

Taylor has been one of Celtic's most consistent performers for several seasons now and his form ensured he started for Scotland in their final Euro 2024 qualifiers against Georgia and Norway last month. 

He was excited when the national team were drawn to play host nation Germany - who they will play in the opening match in Munich - Switzerland and Hungary in Group A in the finals next June last weekend.

He faces stiff competition for a place in the squad - Andy Robertson of Liverpool, Aaron Hickey of Brentford and Kieran Tierney of Real Sociedad are all expected to be fit and available for selection by the time the squad is announced. 

Still, he is determined to keep playing well, help Celtic enjoy another successful season and give manager Steve Clarke a difficult decision to make. 

"It’s an unbelievable draw," he said. "It’s a really exciting time for the nation to be a part of the Euros. I managed to be in the squad for the last one and I’d love to be in Germany for the next one.

"There’s so much football to be played before then. But, of course, being in the squad for the last few years you really hope to be a part of it. With a smaller squad, the onus is on us players to perform for our clubs. Hopefully that takes care of itself further down the line.

"To get Germany in the opening game is unbelievable. It will be in front of 80,000 in the Allianz. It will be a really special game. The Tartan Army will be over there in their thousands. I don’t know what the numbers will be but I can imagine they will be high. It will be a real honour for the boys who get to be there."

Taylor continued:  "It will be full, packed out stadiums and that’s what you want. It was so special having the games at Hampden last time, but it will be so special going abroad and having the Tartan Army there in their thousands. It will feel like a really special occasion.

"A few fans have tried to tap me up for tickets already, but I’m under strict warning that I need to try and focus on my club and get in the squad before I sort any tickets.

"But we don’t want to just go there and take part and say we were there for three group games. There’s a real onus on the boys that we want to progress from the group.

"I think deep down it will be there at the back of our minds of course. It’s round the corner, it’s not far away now. There’s an international camp in March and then it’s into the Euros. So we know it’s not that far away.

"But if you are not playing regularly and you are not playing well then the decision will be quickly taken out of your hands. So it’s important to keep your focus pretty short-sighted at the moment."