GOUROCK footballer Greg Taylor has told of his pride at helping Kilmarnock preserve their Premiership status in just his second appearance for the club.

Taylor played the full 90 minutes at left-back as the Rugby Park outfit overturned a 1-0 deficit by thrashing Falkirk 4-0 in the second leg of the play-off final on Sunday.

The 18-year-old had made his senior debut just eight days earlier in a 4-2 loss to Dundee United in the last game of the regular league campaign.

But boss Lee Clark had no qualms about putting his trust in the Greenock-born teen again in a do-or-die relegation decider and was rewarded with a fine defensive display.

A delighted Taylor told the Tele: “It was only my second game for the Kilmarnock first-team and it couldn’t have been much bigger.

“Maybe a month or two ago, when we won 4-0 against Hamilton, I was very close to playing that day and had been training with the first-team, so I knew it was coming.

“My first game, against Dundee United a couple of weeks ago eased me in, and then I was buzzing to play on Sunday when the gaffer told me.

“I was nervous in the tunnel, but the gaffer putting faith in me eased my nerves, because if he’s willing to put me in when his and other’s jobs are on the line there wasn’t a need to be nervous.

“It was an amazing occasion, there was a big crowd and the atmosphere was brilliant, and getting the two early goals really helped get the fans onside.

“Relegation might have meant people working behind the scenes — the groundsmen, the women in the offices — could have lost their jobs.

“The gaffer had made that point, that it wasn’t just about us and our careers we were playing for — it was for the whole club.

“It was such a massive game for the club, maybe not their best game but one of the biggest certainly, so it was amazing to play and help keep Kilmarnock in the Premiership.”

Taylor started at local boys’ club St Andrews but was soon snapped up by Rangers, with whom he spent six years before he was released for being ‘too small’.

The rejection only made the former Moorfoot and Clydeview Academy pupil more determined to succeed after signing for Kilmarnock.

He explained: “I was at St Andrews for maybe a year and a half as a boy and then moved to Rangers youth for six years.

“I was released from Rangers for being too small. I was too small and too slight, they said. 

“That was definitely a motivation for me to go on and prove them wrong.

“I then went to Kilmarnock. I’ve been full-time here for two years now so that is three years at the club all in.”

Taylor is part of a mini Inverclyde colony in East Ayrshire, with Greenock-born pal Adam Frizzell a team-mate and younger brother Alistair Taylor, 14, also on Killie’s books.

He added: “Adam Frizzell is also at Kilmarnock and he’s doing really well. I’ve always known him though football and we travel down together.

“My younger brother Ally is at the club too and he’s a cracking player. He was at Rangers and Celtic as a boy and then fell out with football and stopped playing.

“He started playing again with his boys’ club, East End [United], and now he’s at Kilmarnock and doing really well.

“He’s playing up an age group and I could definitely see him following me into the first-team. It would be good to play there together some time!”

In terms of his own future, Taylor is in the process of negotiating a contract extension and expects to sign on again soon.

He said: “I’m actually out of contract at the moment, but I’ve been offered to stay at Kilmarnock and we’re just negotiating the deal.

“Lee Clark is the one really pushing to keep me and he has been absolutely amazing for me. 

“He’s given me my chance and given the players a breath of fresh air since coming in.”