IT perhaps says it all about the progression of Greg Taylor that the absence of both Andy Robertson and Kieran Tierney – long regarded as Scotland’s best players – was not as keenly felt against Ukraine on Wednesday night as it once may have been.

The Celtic left-back has had his work cut out for him to make an impact at international level with such talented options ahead of him in the pecking order in his position, but rather than settling for a role as a backup option, Ange Postecoglou says Taylor is determined to instead show that he can reach their world-class level.

There is a strong argument for Taylor to be classed as the most improved player in the country over the past two years, surely now winning over the vast majority of the cynics who doubted he could cut it in either the colours of Celtic or at international level.

His standout performances against the likes of Real Madrid and now Ukraine have surely now removed those doubts, and they have delighted his managers with both club and country.

“It’s great for him,” Postecoglou said.

“I said before the break that he works really hard every day to be the best he can be, and get his level of football up there and maximise his potential.

“He has two world-class left-backs to compete against with Scotland, but you can look at that as something that is daunting, or you can see it as a challenge and something to motivate you, which I know he does.

“He wants to play at that same level, and the way he goes about things I think shows that he seeks constant improvement.

“I know he would have come back pleased that he was able to contribute, but also come back wanting to make sure he is better the next time he is selected for the national team. All credit to him.

“I think it’s great for Scotland. I thought Aaron Hickey was outstanding as well, and you have the likes of Nathan Patterson, Calvin Ramsay and Josh Doig.

“Full-back is an area of the park where Scotland have some real talent.”

The national team has also long enjoyed an embarrassment of riches in the midfield, thanks in no small part to the contribution of Celtic captain Callum McGregor, who was another of the standouts for Clarke’s side in their doughty display in Krakow during the week.

It was the third full match that McGregor completed for Scotland over the course of the week, with the midfielder assuring any concerned Celtic supporters that he would be fit and willing to play 70 matches this season if it came to it.

“If he plays 70 good games then I’ll have no problem with it!” quipped Postecoglou, with the Celtic manager explaining that with his form as steadily impressive as it currently is, it is impossible to leave him out.

“The reality of it, and why Steve Clarke and why I keep selecting him, is because his level of performances have been outstanding,” he continued.

“He’s been doing it for a while, and I think that in the past year and a half he’s taken his game to another level.

“He’s shown real leadership in the role that he has now taken within our club and in the Scotland camp as well.

“You ask any manager in the world, it’s about performance, and if someone is performing you keep playing them.

“If there was ever an indication that Callum’s level of performance was dropping then he’d be the first to acknowledge it.

“If we need to bring him out, we will, but his level of performance is testament to the way he prepares himself, and the way he looks after himself both on and off the field.

“I think if he’s performing at his current level, whether it is myself or Steve Clarke, we will keep selecting him.”

Both Taylor and McGregor are likely to start the match against Motherwell at Celtic Park this afternoon, a match that Postecoglou feels will provide a stern test for his side given the improvements new Fir Park manager Stevie Hammell has made to his team to pose an attacking threat.

He doesn’t feel though that there will be any lingering hangover from the defeat to St Mirren before the international break.

“You’re obviously disappointed when you lose any game of football, but you have to apply perspective to these things,” he said.

“It’s not like before when we were winning we thought we were unbeatable. We knew and I’ve said all along that we are a team that is still developing and progressing.

“We are only in the second year of rebuilding a side, we have only had three transfer windows. So we’re by no means the finished product.

“There is still improvement in us, we know that, and we knew that after every game that we won, because that’s the way we analyse it.

“If you put too much emphasis on a defeat, then the players can misconstrue the message from all along that this is a team that wants to improve and get better.

“We didn’t perform on the day, St Mirren did perform on the day, so we’ve analysed the game the same way we analyse every game, given the feedback to the players and now we move on to the next challenge.

“Aside from being disappointed because you never want to lose a game of football, it’s all about making sure the way we go about our business doesn’t change because of one outcome.

“Stevie has gone in [to Motherwell] and made changes to the way they play, and when you look at them, they are definitely more of a goal threat,” he continued.

“I know they lost 3-0 to Hearts, but when you look at the game, they had quite a lot of opportunities to score goals.

“It can be hard when you come into a position during a season, because you are inheriting a group of players and changing the style pretty drastically can have an effect on the team.

“But I think he has certainly moulded the team to the way he wants to play, and credit to him, good on him.

“Hopefully he continues on that path, and they will provide a good challenge for us. A different challenge.

“But we’re at home, and our form at home has been good for a long time, and we want to come out there at the beginning of this block of games and make sure we put in a strong performance.”