It's time for Celtic's David Turnbull to receive his overdue Scotland break

By David Walton

May 29, 2022

Over recent months we’ve bemoaned the lack of Scotland opportunities for Anthony Ralston, but he isn’t the only Celtic star Steve Clarke has been overlooking.

David Turnbull has been receiving plenty of call-ups during the 2021/22 campaign. But, incredibly, he’s only received 16 minutes on the park for his country this term.

All of them came during the first half of the campaign. Scotland had international camps back in September, October, and November respectively. Turnbull was barely utilised despite being called up for all 3.

Photo by Ralf Treese/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

He did miss the squad for the March friendlies which may have yielded more minutes for him. However, he was still recovering from his hamstring injury picked up in December 2021.

Clarke has regularly utilised the likes of Callum McGregor, Billy Gilmour, and John McGinn in his starting XIs. That’s been fair enough. However, there have been regular outings for the likes of Ryan Jack, Scott McTominay, and Kenny McLean. You can’t plausibly say all 3 of those players have more quality or have been operating at a higher level than Turnbull.

But things look different as we enter the June camp. Jack is out through injury. McLean, meanwhile, is also sidelined. Turnbull remains in there and will be up against McGregor, McGinn, McTominay, Stuart Armstrong, and Allan Campbell for minutes.

David Turnbull in good place to make Scotland impact

An opportunity might not be there for him in the World Cup playoff against Ukraine, or even the final vs Wales should they make it. But the Nations League games that follow look highly promising.

Turnbull ended the campaign in fine form after returning from injury and looked back to full fitness. Let’s not forget his goal on trophy day against Motherwell made it 10 goals and 8 assists for the season [Transfermarkt]. He missed 3 months of it through injury. His figures would’ve been scary had he not suffered that hamstring blow.

Clarke will need to rotate his team for the current camp. Scotland could have 5 games in the space of 14 days. It’s not sustainable to have the same players operating in his engine room. Finally, that international opportunity Turnbull has craved should be nearing him.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

The truth is he should’ve been integrated long before now of course. He was superb in the first half of the season but continued to be overlooked despite being perhaps the most creative player in the Premiership.

Turnbull was also one of the standout performers during the second half of last season too. It’s frustrating that he’s had to put so much effort in to get a sniff whilst the likes of Nathan Patterson hs waltzed into the team without any substantial game-time this season.

But come a fortnight’s time, we should be dissecting some proper outings for David and, hopefully, a first ever competitive start.

In other news, Liel Abada explains why he wants Celtic to face PSG next season