Steve Clarke already ruing omission of Celtic star David Turnbull

By David Walton

March 29, 2021

Scotland boss Steve Clarke is certainly suffering this week, but things could’ve gone so much better had he called up David Turnbull.

Indeed, the Tartan Army’s problems this week haven’t come from the back. Defensively, they’ve coped well with talents such as Israel’s Eran Zahavi and Austria’s Adrian Grbic.

But once again, there’s been a massive lack of inspiration in Clarke’s midfield. Talents such as Scott McTominay and John McGinn have been central to Scotland’s World Cup qualifying bid over the last week. McGinn grabbed positive headlines for a stunning overhead kick against Austria on Thursday despite a generally poor display.

In fairness, we’ll hold our hands up. Even Ryan Christie and Callum McGregor haven’t shone this week either. In Scotland’s first two World Cup qualifying matches, chance creation has been a real problem.

It’s not that Scotland haven’t managed to get efforts in on goal. Over both games they managed 26 efforts on goal. That’s a decent return. But many of those have come from strikes outside the penalty area.

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Steve Clarke could’ve had a smoother international break if he had selected David Turnbull

Interestingly, Turnbull, who was snubbed for the current Scotland camp despite impressive performances for Celtic, is all about what Scotland are missing. Cutting open the opposition? Check. Shooting from range? Check. Picking out final balls? Check.

He could’ve been making his mark and staking a claim to be selected for this summer’s Euros by now. It’s not as if Clarke’s reason for not picking him was acceptable either. When asked about Turnbull’s snub, Clarke said he was “one for the future” and that he was “one to keep an eye on” [Glasgow Live].

David Turnbull in action for Celtic / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Well, exactly Steve. He’s one for the future and one to keep an eye on because he’s been performing so well. But he’s also one for the present, and you wouldn’t have bet against him being a standout against the likes of Austria and Israel.

Watch John McGinn bag two or three against the Faroe Islands at the weekend and hear talk of how he’s an £80m player. Yet Turnbull is ready to perform the exact same feats by now. He’s at the level where he’s ready to face the likes of Denmark, Austria etc. It makes no sense to have shielded his talent for what were three crucial matches.

David could’ve easily been the difference between draws and wins with his skillset. Yet Clarke’s blind loyalty to his current group is quickly coming back to haunt him. Turnbull, meanwhile, could’ve made this a much more positive week than it has been for Scotland.

In other news, it’s no wonder Celtic fans aren’t happy with Steve Clarke either.