It's time to abandon Celtic midfield of Rogic and Turnbull

By Euan Davidson

October 1, 2021

Given the reputations of Celtic players Tom Rogic and David Turnbull, you’d expect – on paper at least – for our midfield to be purring with creativity and goals.

Except, it’s just not happening. In several consecutive games, the duo of natural number 10s have been forced together, and it’s just not clicking for either.

Turnbull, so effective last season, has laboured. One fantastic game (and hat-trick) aside [Sky Sports], last year’s Player of the Year hasn’t looked himself. Whether it’s the physical demands of Postecoglou’s style or an overall lack of confidence, Turnbull is relying on shooting outside the box, rather than looking for that killer pass.

Rogic, meanwhile, has shown some excellent touches, and has been crucial in games against AZ Alkmaar and Dundee, for example. But the Australian international is being relied upon too heavily, and he’s not seeing enough of the ball.

Last night, there was ample evidence. Rogic had the fewest passes of anyone starting for Celtic, with 29 [WhoScored?]. Even Joe Hart had nearly double that, while Turnbull wasn’t much better with his 36.

In terms of touches, Rogic and Turnbull combined for 99, showing that they’re either being bypassed or just not making the space to be a reliable option for wider players.

Celtic 0-4 Bayer Leverkusen | LIVE Reaction

Celtic 0-4 Bayer Leverkusen | LIVE Reaction

That’s a real worry. We have two creative, attacking outlets who just aren’t getting on the ball enough to be a danger. Then, defensively, they aren’t able to sufficiently track back and stop opposition moves from being finished, let alone developing.

Celtic have scarce options but Rogic and Turnbull don’t work together

What else can you do?

As disliked in some quarters as Olivier Ntcham and Ryan Christie were, their departures have left significant gaps in our midfield. Scott Brown’s departure has meant that Callum McGregor has been required to play deeper; not necessarily a bad thing, but maybe not the best balance, either.

Celtic have James McCarthy and Ismaila Soro available, and it could be well worth having them in to play as a number 6, with McGregor in a more natural, advanced position alongside a number 10.

Photo by NEIL HANNA/AFP via Getty Images

Alternatively, the likes of Ewan Henderson wait for their opportunities. Mobile and liked by the manager, Henderson would be an interesting choice for domestic games we have coming up.

Either way, the manager has been left hamstrung by a lack of options. Why wouldn’t he play someone he trusts like Rogic, if there’s little else available? And how can he get the best from last season’s Player of the Year?

It’s a tough situation for Postecoglou. But for weeks now, the combination hasn’t been working.

It’s time for the Celtic boss to make a change.

Read more: Celtic defending needs to improve exponentially for Ange-ball to work