Turnbull to make "serious inroads" over the next year; Lennon backs Celtic summer signing

By David Walton

December 10, 2020

Neil Lennon says he expects David Turnbull to make “serious inroads” as a Celtic player over the next 12-18 months.

Turnbull arrived in the summer and has seldom been used in Lennon’s starting XI. Indeed, the former Motherwell starlet has only made the starting lineup on one occasion since his arrival – a 2-0 win against St Johnstone back in October.

Since then it’s been barely substantial cameo appearances, with Lennon occasionally throwing Turnbull on for the final few minutes. This has frustrated a support that sees the midfield as a key area of weakness and stagnation that needs a fresh injection of quality.

But the manager has been bigging up his summer signing as he hinted that he’s going to burst onto the scene in the very near future.

As quoted by the Glasgow Times, Lennon said: “He’s absolutely part of the plans. I was impressed with him when he came on at the weekend. He’s had nearly a month away from us with the international squad and then the Covid. He had to go through all those protocols, but he’s fit and healthy now. I think he’ll play a part between now and the end of the year.

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“David has had absolutely no luck at all. He’s a great kid, a really talented kid, and he’s due a break. His attitude has been excellent.  He is really low maintenance, he comes in with a smile on his face every day. David is enjoying the environment and the challenges ahead of him.

“He will make an impact between now and the end of the year and I’m absolutely sure he’ll make serious inroads over the next year to 18 months.”

Lille doesn’t sound like being a one-off

So there we have it. Perhaps the only time this season when Lennon has really delved into Turnbull’s situation.

The manager normally doesn’t do this unless he’s about to start giving them more regular minutes, and it appears that’s exactly what he has in mind with Turnbull as he attempts to cling onto his job over the next couple of months.

With fixtures coming up against the likes of Kilmarnock, Ross County, Dundee United, and Hamilton respectively, you can’t say the fixtures aren’t there. All of those are matches where Turnbull could easily replace the likes of Scott Brown and you’d still be confident of winning the game.

Turnbull must be waiting for his chance / (Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Neil has so often this season made it look as though he sees playing Turnbull as being a risk. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The real risk is in sticking with a midfield that has become so predictable it struggles to now dominate games domestically.

Turnbull you have to imagine was signed for that very reason – to inject freshness when required. Lennon isn’t on time here with Turnbull’s integration into first-team matters – it’s long overdue.

A game against the side sitting second in Ligue 1 maybe isn’t the best game for Turnbull to stand out in, but it’ll give fans and the manager a good barometer of where he’s at overall. Hopefully, he impresses as much as possible tonight.

In other news, there was one Celtic absentee Lennon failed to mention for tonight’s game.