There may be a somewhat unfair perception that life is a beach for professional footballers, but the Celtic squad have been doing their bit to reinforce the stereotype this week, despite the pressures of being involved in the closing stages of the title race and having a Hampden semi-final on the immediate horizon.

Greg Taylor was among a host of Celtic stars who took advantage of their free week to take to the seaside with their four-legged friends - in Taylor's case, his spaniel, Bali - and some of their two-legged teammates as well. 

What may seem like an innocent walk with his dog though is in fact an essential part of his preparation for what is to come, according to Taylor, with the need to switch off from the noise around Celtic vitally important if they are to be able to deliver on their goals.

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They aim to show then – with apologies – that they are adept at holding onto a lead in more ways than one.

“It’s been nice and relaxed,” Taylor said.

“I managed to see Mr (Ryan) Christie for a catch up and that was good.

“Alistair (Johnston) and Cameron (Carter-Vickers) were out too, the furry friends are always there for you – the tails are always wagging no matter the results!

“I appreciate my dog, for sure. I’m from Gourock so I’m not sure I can call it the beach – it’s more the stones. I grew up on the golf course, so I tend to try to stay away from the sand, but I do love the coast.

“The dog walking is something I enjoy. It gets you away from it all but the focus is very much on the run in. We’ve got five games to go in the league and a big semi-final to focus on first.

“It is good to switch off a bit at times. You don’t want to get too focused on the game too early. You try to save the emotion for the day as you can tire yourself out with it too early. The work is the same and this week has been a normal in terms of preparations.

“We had a couple of days off at the start, but since then we’ve been working hard, and all the focus has been on Aberdeen and getting ready to go at Hampden.

“When you get to this stage you need to be perfect on the day or you won’t be in the Final, that’s what cup competitions are all about.

“We know we will have to bring our ‘A’ game. We’re excited for the opportunity.”

Another unfair perception may be the one that a team under an interim manager – as Aberdeen are at present – may not be quite as formidable an opponent as one with a permanent coach in the dugout, with the Dons awaiting Jimmy Thelin’s arrival in the summer from Elfsborg.

Taylor is well acquainted though with the man currently holding the reins at Pittodrie, Peter Leven, and he is certain that he will have Aberdeen fired up and fully prepared for facing Celtic at Hampden.

“Aberdeen have a good coach right now in Peter, who is trying to play football with them,” he said.

“I’m sure they will be enjoying working under him. I had him at Kilmarnock and he’s a very honest guy.

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“He was massive [for me]. When I wasn’t quite in the first team and he was one of the first team coaches under Lee Clark, he took a real interest in me and was willing to do extras. He could easily have been focused on other first team players and I was only breaking through.

“He took a real keen interest in trying to develop me, and I’ll always be really appreciative of it, and he knows it.

“He’s been willing to go here, there and everywhere to try and find success in the game or find the right role for him, and he seems to be enjoying it at Aberdeen.

“He’s the main man at the moment, and hopefully he can continue on there.”