David Turnbull may be in fine form for Celtic, but it’s time for Scotland to take a firm look at him too.
Stretching back to when Scotland qualified for Euro 2020, Turnbull was an afterthought. Not just at international level, but at club level too. Neil Lennon had only given him one start all season. His opportunities to impress were limited if you’re being generous.
Now that’s all changed. He and Ismaila Soro can take the vast majority of credit going for Celtic’s increase in performance levels. Both men have been incredible. Turnbull in particular has added a real goal threat whilst Soro has finally given the back-line energetic protection.
But focusing on David, he’s the in-form midfielder in Scotland just now. He was part of a midfield that totally bossed Rangers on Saturday. He played a host of key passes that provided us with space in the final third against the Ibrox side. It’s clear he knew it too – claiming Celtic played Rangers off the park (Daily Record).
That performance came after a superb run of six wins in-a-row. Turnbull managed to score in four of those matches. He’s giving Celtic a major injection of quality in the attacking third. So much so that he’s keeping Tom Rogic and Ryan Christie out of their preferred position.
The latter is one of the first names on Steve Clarke’s Scotland team sheet. He’ll be at the Euros so long as injury doesn’t halt him from doing so. But the evidence suggests Turnbull certainly wouldn’t look out of place alongside him.
It’s a bit of a travesty that David hasn’t been capped for Scotland yet. Had he not picked up his long-term injury that kept him out last season, he would’ve had a handful by now. In fact, his spot at Euro 2020 would likely be all but secured.
Turnbull hitting the right notes for Celtic; Scotland call should follow
But it isn’t. Instead, he’s still at the stage where he’s planting the seeds. He isn’t just a Celtic midfielder just now – he’s a Parkhead standout.
In March, Scotland have big World Cup qualifiers against Austria and Israel respectively. Clarke could do with giving Turnbull his big opportunity – assuming his performance levels stay the same at Parkhead.
Spare me the idea he needs to be loyal to those who qualified for the Euros. Scotland got there by strolling a Nations League group they should easily have won in the first place. They then threatened to be knocked out at home to a poor Israel team in the playoffs before winning on penalties. Serbia away was a glorious night, but it’s hardly been a difficult route.
Maybe if Scotland had qualified via the traditional 10-game game qualifying route. Surviving several difficult matches and grinding to a host of victories. That’s a different stories. A couple of play-off wins against poor outfits don’t merit guaranteed spots for individual players at Euro 2020.
A look at Scotland’s midfield suggests it needs some genuine competition too. John McGinn and Callum McGregor are the standouts. But Stuart Armstrong and Scott McTominay have consistently failed to impress. Ryan Jack is another option but he’s a more defensive-minded option.
Remember, as much as Scotland qualified for Euro 2020 via the back-door, those same players made a massive mess of this year’s Nations League group. Dreadful losses in Slovakia and Israel KO’d us. It halted us from progression to the A leagues and a potential World Cup playoff.
So Clarke has to take a look at some fresh talent in March ahead of the Euros in the summer. And at the moment, overlooking Turnbull looks like a dereliction of duty more than anything.