Turnbull's Celtic rise proves Lennon's post-St Johnstone comment wrong

By David Walton

December 15, 2020

David Turnbull is the man of the moment these days as his introduction to the Celtic team has brought a renewed sense of freshness to the club – who would’ve thought it?

Only the vast majority of fans who have been calling for his integration into this Hoops side for a long time. Those supporters have every right to go patting themselves on the back for that verdict. It really has helped turn some of the darkness into some light at Parkhead. Even if there’s so much more work to do.

One of the questions to come out Turnbull’s impressive displays against Lille and Kilmarnock, however, is why on earth he hasn’t been playing more regularly in the first place?

A couple of weeks ago when Celtic slumped to a new low in their 1-1 home draw vs St Johnstone, Lennon shed some light on the reasoning as to why both he and Leigh Griffiths hadn’t been playing.

Both came on against Saints and made a decent impression, but when Celtic TV tried to big up their contributions, Lennon’s only remark was: “Yeah they need to be fitter. They need to provide that bit of freshness because they’ve (the squad) had a lot of games.”

Turnbull showing no signs of early fatigue

There’s been absolutely nothing wrong with Turnbull’s fitness. You have to remember, this is a player who managed to play an hour against St Johnstone back in October. He impressed in the second half against Hibs back in September too – helping change the game with his energy as he bagged an assist.

He’s been able to go for a long time but simply hasn’t been given the opportunities. It’s absolutely nothing to do with fitness. Are we to believe he wasn’t fit enough against St Johnstone but was magically able to play just under two 90-minute games in the space of seven days after it?

As for Griffiths, he’ll be buzzing that Lennon has been proven wrong with Turnbull’s performance here, because it throws up a question mark regarding whether he’s truly unfit now too. If Neil was wrong about Turnbull then it’s not ridiculous to suggest it’s the same with Griffiths.

Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths / (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

The same Griffiths who has bailed Lennon out on a couple of occasions this season with goals against St Johnstone and Aberdeen respectively. If Turnbull is able to go from unfit to a prime-starter within a week then Griffiths can do the exact same.

He’s another who simply needs to be given the opportunities the likes of Turnbull has over the last week. He’s proven several times this season he has what it takes to make a big difference.

And at this stage, there’s no reason to believe he isn’t fit enough to do so. Not after Turnbull’s recent rise.

In other news, I discuss why this Celtic duo could save the Hoops millions next month if their performances remain high.